The history of the kimono’s development can be traced to the Nara period (710-784). This was a time of great influence by T'ang dynasty China. Consequently, the long, flowing Chinese robe became the model for the early kimono prototype. During the Heian period (794-1185), Japan closed its doors to China and her direct influences and, as a result, the first distinctive Japanese art forms began to emerge. The kimono developed from the small-sleeved, white undergarment worn next to a woman's skin called a kosode.