Sunday 26 August 2012

From Japan with Love - Zeeland

( to see the pictures full size , left click on it on any picture to open the slide show , right click and select view picture and left click (+) to enlarge )

When driving through Zeeland, a province in the South-West of  the Netherlands, almost completely surrounded by the sea and as flat as the proverbial pancake, you'd hardly suspect silk caterpillars were bred here in the early 19th century for the production of silk.

The World of Silk museum is (until the end of September 2012) holding an exposition of a very large collection of silk kimonos, uchikakes , haoris , obis and many other items. Most of them date back to the beginning of the last century Taisho (1912-1926)  Showa  ( 1926-1989) and Heisei (1989-now) era , some even go back to the Meiji era (1868-1912 ). The photos here represent between half and  two-thirds of the whole exposition. Most pieces hang in front of mirrors , so one can see the front as well , but I didn't photograph the mirrored side.

The exposition is still open till end of September, every Thursday , Friday and Saturday from 12 till 17h30. For a mere 6 Euro's you get to see a LOT of breathtakingly beautiful and unique pieces of art. And the parking in front and around the building is free

The staff will let you photograph , but without flash ( could be harmful to the coloured fabrics ) and they lend you a colour guide with detailed descriptions of most of the exhibits. There is also a continuous movie shown on weaving ,making and colouring kimonos.

Make yourself comfortable, hook up your laptop to a big screen and click on every picture to see the large version, you'll love it !
( to see the pictures full size , left click on it , and a second window opens , so you can look at the post in the first  )

At the entrance the first thing you see is this splendid Uchikake.

Detail of the upper back with phoenix birds

Detail of right sleeve ( mandarin ducks).

Furisode , Showa , hand-painted on black silk, with three mon (crests).

Furisode, hand-painted silk, Showa
Detail of the sleeve.
Furisode painted in a circular pattern. Heisei.

Furisode with lots of silver thread patterning, making it hard to photograph ^^

The pattern shows up better when I darken the picture.

Detail of embroidered flowers on the sleeve

There are several display cases with plenty of interesting items. Here's a few examples : a tsuno kakushi , worn by the bride at a wedding ( it has a hairpiece woven into it )

Another lovely hairpiece.
 Comb and Hairpin, 1930

Between the inside room and the hall were several display cases with obi.

Nagoya obi, hand painted pheasant and sakura on shioze ( heavy habotai silk), early Showa

Nagoya obi woven in tsumugi technique , Showa

 Fukuro obi , Heisei.
 Bridal Fukuro obi , silk satin damask ( rinzu ) Meiji ( 1868-1912 ).

 Fukuro obi , pheasants and sakura Showa.

 Nagoya obi , Swallows painted in yuzen technique on shioze silk. 1950
Nagoya obi , Heisei , hand-painted. The three dimensional raindrops are extremely well done.

 Fukuro obi , silk, hand embroidered mandarin ducks,  before 1940.

Obi : woven picture on silk. Not listed in catalogue.

Fukuri obi ,1950 , painted silk

The inside room , where the movie is shown, contains many more furisodes and uchikakes.
Furisode hand-painted with gold and silver leaf. Showa.
Close-up of the lower part

Detail of the sleeve.
 Detail of the hem.
This kimono is listed as bridal furisode (1950-1960) with filled hem, hand painted on silk.

 Detail of the hem.
 Bridal furisode (1950-1960) with hand painted cranes  and plenty of gold thread.
What the photo can't show very clearly is the pearly metallic shine of the fabric.

 Detail near the hem.
 Detail of the right sleeve.
 In the inner room a rare Art Nouveau Uchikake was displayed, together with a white and red undercoat, all meant to be worn together.

Taking a picture from below brings out the woven pattern of the white undercoat

and of the red undercoat ( top of the left sleeve ).

I was so busy getting a good shot, that I clean forgot to photograph the furisode itself :(

Also in the central room , this embroidered silk screen with four panels is embroidered gold thread on brown silk  showing fighting roosters and wisteria flowers (Meiji era).

On the hallway with the kimono were original obi patterns. Hinagata bon ( lit. : design print ) can be patterns for any kind of fabric but with the years have come to be known mainly as kimono patterns.
These were used by the obi weavers as templates for their obis, but also to show to customers, so they could choose which obi they'd like to buy.

On the left: painted silk with paper backing , Showa. On the right :  painted silk , Showa.
Detail of left scroll.
Detail from right scroll.

Hinagata bon painted on paper ( phoenix birds and camelias )
Hinagata bon : painted on silk with Kabuki players, Showa
Hinagata bon : painting of Noh theatre on silk,  pattern made in Kyoto ,  Showa

The corridor leading to the garden was lined with very nice examples of men's haori ,that traditionally have decorations on the inside lining.

Men's haori with a hand made sumi-e ( painting in chinese ink ) on the inside, 1930 early Showa.

Men's haori with hand painted drawing  on silk, early Showa.
 Women in a bath house
Rare men's haori  ( the inside and outside are made from the same silk) with very large painting, depicting women on their way through the fields. 1930 early Showa.
Men's haori : painting on silk of a Shojo in a sake cup, Japanese ghost with red hair, who's known for drinking a lot. Showa

Men's haori : painting on silk : women near a canal. Early Showa  

Men's haori : woven depiction of Nikko Toshogu temple. Showa

Michiyuki ( overcoat for kimono ) with hand painted drawing  on silk of peasant women.

Not only grown men and women wore kimono's . (Rich)  children had kimonos made for them too.
Boys kimono embroidered phoenix bird, painted paulownia with family crests. Showa


Boys kimono hand painted boy on koi ( carp) with family crests. 1950 Showa

Boys kimono hand painted Gosho motifs with family crests. Showa

I kept some uchikake for the last , to keep everyone from getting bored in the first part :)

Bridal uchikake, embroidered depiction of "Tales of Genji" with princesses wearing juni-hitoes ( very formal multilayer kimonos)

Detail of princess near top.

Detail near the hem.

This juni-hitoe uchikake is hanging in the top of the central room. Unusual, embroidered with lots of silver thread instead of gold, depicting peacocks. 

Detail of peacocks on right sleeve.

Detail near centre top.
Left sleeve
Bridal uchikake handpainted and embroidered with a LOT of gold thread (1950-1960 ).

The gorgeous crane on top of the back in embroidered gold thread, looks like could fly off any time !
Looking at this , one wonders how long it took to make this and more importantly how long it took for the artisan to reach the level one needed to do it this well.

Detail near hem.
Bridal uchikake , embroidered on satin silk, Heisei. This fabric was very colourful and shiny, which is troublesome to photograph well, but I hope some of it comes across.

Detail near the top

Detail near hem.

Detail of crane in middle near the hem.

Central near entrance : bridal uchikake , embroidered silk , garden scenes with cranes. Heisei.

Details : right sleeve.
Top of right sleeve.

Bottom of right sleeve.
Central part.

These gorgeous Hina dolls depict a scene from the imperial court from the Edo period. Showa

These dolls were a gift from the Japanese to the Dutch shipping company. Period unknown
See ! That's how elegant you can look wearing a kimono :)

No comment :)

After the photo-shoot, I relaxed in the garden behind the museum. The garden has mulberry trees,whose leaves serve as food for silk worms on and a small pond.

I can recommend the Japanese Iki beer , it's totally refreshing.

I wish I'd brought some sushi.


godzilla_rabbit said...

Thanks for showing awesome pics and sharing the story about silk history.
Ray :-)

Kumiko said...

They are all awesome and exquisite!
Thank you for sharing these wonderful pics.
And you are so handsome^ ^

Walter said...

Thank you for the comments, Ray-san and Kumiko-san. Yes, the fabrics of the uchikake's were truly amazingly beautiful. The whole exhibition was well worth the long voyage.
Hahaha, Kumiko-san , thanks for the compliment :)

Anonymous said...

The beauty of the silk haori jacket lies in its versatility; depending on how it’s worn, it can easily transition from casual wear to formal occasions. For instance, by adding accessories like obi (a wide sash), tabi socks and geta sandals, one can instantly transform a casual look into something more suited for special occasions such as tea ceremonies or weddings.

Walter said...

Thank you for the comment, Anonymous-san.

Anonymous said...

The traditional haori jacket pattern consists of bold colors and patterns, with intricate detailing at each end of the coat. In addition to these colorful designs, haoris may also feature long sleeves and prints that feature symbols like dragons or birds.