Though recent weekend subway travel has become challenging with trains running at 20 minute or more intervals apart, I decided to venture downtown to take a respite from my daily routine.
My effort was rewarded by the exquisite display produced by Rinko Kimono.
The description on the informational handout stated “Antique Kimono meets Interior Décor for your HOME”
This was quite apparent with both the traditional and modern table settings and seating alcoves that were created.
The handout also provided some history to ponder:
“During the Edo period Japan was closed to the outside world and had developed a unique culture of its own, however since the first black ship arrival in 1853 Japan has adopted many of the western culture”
The exhibition was a collection of originally designed kimonos made during the 1920’s to 1950’s and many of these antique treasures were made of MEISEN silk cloth with KINSHA CHRIMEN of vibrant colors.
I took the opportunity to find a description of this fabric technique from Kasuri Home
CREPE SILKS – CHIRIMEN AND KINSHA
Chirimen and kinsha silks have a slightly textured surface similar to crepe, achieved by twisting the threads during weaving.
Chirimen is heavier and stronger than kinsha and plain-weave silk and drapes exceptionally well.
Kinsha is a very fine, light-weight crepe-like silk.
Meisen silk, generally crisp and supple, is one of the Japanese silks fabricated by weaving pre-dyed threads, utilizing the tie-and-resist ikat technique (ikat is an Indonesian term widely utilized to refer to this technique).
In this process, the threads, silk or cotton, are first stretched on a frame. Selected design areas are tightly bound to prevent the dye from penetrating and the hanks of threads are immersed in the dye pots. The bound portions of the yarns resist the dye and when woven, as a result of the threads not being perfectly aligned, create shapes with charmingly uneven edges.
Other Japanese textiles that are made with variations of this technique are cotton kasuri,omeshi silk and tsumugi silk. (described below).
Meisen silk was a popular fabric for casual kimono from 1920 to 1950, in part because it was more affordable, and in part because the designs, frequently drawing on Western influences, seemed adventurous and innovative. Even today they retain a contemporary sensibility.
In my discussion of Kimono with one of the hosts I also found out an interesting fact, a married woman wears a short sleeve kimono. A little taken aback by this, I asked why and was told that a shorter sleeve enabled the woman to perform household chores easily :-).
There were also two lovely boxes on display covered in the beautiful silk fabric. It was explained that they are tea boxes for storage for prevention of the tea being compromised by environmental influences. The artist explained the smaller red box was covered with fabric from a kimono she wore when she was three years old, what a treasure.
Again, if you are in NYC and have a chance to visit an exhibit at Globus Washitsu it is well worth the time. Thank You Stephen Globus, Rinko Kimono, “Japanese Culture & Style” and Souheki, tea-whisk for the invitation.