Thru Jan 28: Decorative kimono and costume exhibition closing at Clark Center

Clark Kimono Blue Uchikake

Blue uchikake with courtly scene. Late 19th century. Silk, gold embroidery, cotton filled hem 169×124 cm. The Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture, gift of Mr. Kohji Wada (2003.019)

Uchikake, or outer robe, originated in the Kamakura period (1185-1333), when women of the samurai class adopted for formal occasions.

One of the garments on display at the Clark Center’s “Woven Identities of Japan” is a spectacular “Blue uchikake with courtly scene” dating from the nineteenth century.

Made of plain-weave blue satin, this garment is elaborately embroidered with decorative designs that reference courtly refinement during the Heian period (794-1185).

Across the entirety of the robe are embroidered maple trees among kicho, room dividers that were used to shield court ladies from the eyes of men.

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For centuries, Japanese textiles and fashion have fascinated outsiders with their brilliance of color, complexity of form, and unique beauty. At once functional and decorative, textiles were imperative both for personal expression and as tools for actors on stage.

Theatrical costumes in Japan are unique when compared to those worn by the general public. Often modeled after historic clothing, costumes have a language of their own and aim at augmenting the experience of audience members.

This was particularly true for Noh, a type of theater that originated in the fourteenth century combining mime, dance, and music to tell stories. For example, sumptuously embroidered robe to be worn by an actor portraying a male role has been produced.

As the second of two rotation, exhibition “Woven Identities of Japan: Kimono and Costumes” will showcase articles of clothing from Japan’s mainstream society, focusing on the different weaving, dyeing, and decorative techniques used to create them.

This exhibition will not only feature collections of the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture but also the private collection of Thomas Murray, a dealer of Asian and Tribal arts and enthusiastic collector of Japanese textiles.

Opening Lecture by Curator, Nov 13

The exhibition is curated by Clark Center’s curatorial assistant Virginia Soenksen. She will give an opening lecture on Sunday, Nov 13 at 2:00 pm.

The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, and is closed from Dec 23 through Jan 2.  And the exhibition will run through Jan 28, 2012.

“Woven Identities of Japan” will be exhibited at the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture, 15770 Tenth Ave, Hanford, CA 93230.

(559) 582-4915