Throughout the course of Splendors of Shiga: Treasures from Japan, we will be featuring some of our favorite works of art from the exhibition and providing a more in-depth look at some of these pieces.
This week, we’re featuring two beautiful kimono from the collection:
The tradition of the kimono carried through the 20th century and increasingly became more of a pictorial art form rather than a functional object. This example is by the master designer and artist Moriguchi Kakō, recognized as a Living National Treasure by the Japanese Government during his long career. In many ways he elevated the art form in the postwar period with many of his works considered so significant they were shown on exhibition rather than worn on special occasions. Depicted are flowing branches of plum blossoms, which are traditional reminders of springtime. The material was hand dyed in an ancient tradition the artist learned in Kyoto and continued in his workshop in the city of Moriyama in the Shiga Prefecture. This is one of three original kimono designs by Kakō that will be on display over the course of the exhibition.
Moriguchi Kakō (1909–2008)
Shōwa Period, 1983
Yuzen style dyed, silk
The Museum of Modern Art, Shiga
This full kimono from the 18th century served as a bridal dress, and was passed down for generations in a single family in the mercantile city of Omihachiman. The blue silk was tediously hand knotted and tie-dyed to create the expansive design of flying cranes and young pines. Both traditional symbols in Japanese culture, the birds represent long life and the trees stand for resilience as well as longevity. As a bridal gown, this garment would have originally had long flowing sleeves that were shortened at some period to be worn by a married woman throughout her life. This rare loan will be the last public exhibition of this kimono owing to the fragility of the centuries-old silk. This is one of three traditional kimonos that will be on display over the course of the exhibition.
Kosode Kimono with young pine trees and flying cranes
Edo Period, 19th Century
Tie-dyed figured silk
Collection of Omihachiman City
Courtesy of The Museum of Omihachiman City