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.
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 )
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
The inside room , where the movie is shown, contains many more furisodes and uchikakes.
Furisode hand-painted with gold and silver leaf. Showa.
Detail of the sleeve.
What the photo can't show very clearly is the pearly metallic shine of the fabric.
Detail near the hem.
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
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).
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.
Hinagata bon painted on paper ( phoenix birds and camelias )
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 : woven depiction of Nikko Toshogu temple. Showa
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 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.
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.
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 the top
Detail of crane in middle near the hem.
Central near entrance : bridal uchikake , embroidered silk , garden scenes with cranes. Heisei.
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.