The kimono, almost emblematic in its association with Japan, has all but disappeared from the daily life of the population. For "once-in-a-lifetime" events, however, such as weddings, coming-of-age ceremonies, and graduations, the kimono is still worn, bringing a host of nostalgic feelings to both participants and observers. Capturing the essence of Japanese female beauty, it is the embodiment of traditional cultural values. The word kimono replaced, in the late 1800's, the term used for centuries to describe the garment: kosode. This volume draws together approximately 150 examples of kosode from the Edo period, the high point in the flowering of this most exquisite of arts. It was during this time that fashion became a highly developed industry in Japan, one that affected all levels of society. The popular literature of the period abounds with minute descriptions of dress. When Art Became Fashion: Kosode in Edo-Period Japan features many outstanding examples from Japanese and American collections and focuses on the different forces that influenced their designs. Whether through color, dyeing technique, or decoration, they reveal a continuum in Japanese textile artistry that extends to the kimono of today. Like the kimono, the kosode is Japan.
From Library Journal:
In another fine example of arts publishing from Weatherhill, six scholarly essays are interposed with illustrations of items found in the upcoming exhibit of Kosode (narrow-sleeved robes) at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Here, Japanese textiles are shown to be much more than kimonos and samurai armor. To borrow an idea from Robert T. Singer's essay, one could say that craft ( kogei ) and art ( bijutsu ) were not separate in Japanese culture but were seen as one on a higher artistic plane ( geijutsu ). The work as a whole demonstrates the interplay among dyer, artist, craftsperson, and so forth, with Monica Bethe's strong essay explaining the special meaning of various colors in Japanese costume and how they were (and are) culturally linked. Though the bibliography was not complete at the time of review, it should be very useful. Highly recommended for all textile and design collections and for those focusing on Japan. (Illustrations not seen.)-- Mike Heines, USAF Rome Laboratory Technical Lib., N.Y.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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