Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Postcard from Japan: Indigo-dyed Work Kimono - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The International Christian University outside Tokyo in Musashisakai/Mitaka was begun in 1950, just shortly after the end of WWII.  The campus is large and lovely with immense trees, beautiful buildings for each department as well as an art museum which I realized has hosted some extraordinary textile exhibits about traditional Japan techniques.  This exhibit is Japanese indigo-dyed work kimono.  After viewing the Boro exhibit at the Amuse Museum in Asakusa, I was assuming that these textiles would these would be in poor shape as the boro were.  Fortunately that wasn't true and the exhibit had 30 or more kimono-type work clothes worn by different workers, often those in the cities, during the 19th and early 20th century.

Festival hanten with waves
I took many photos so, again, this will be a selection.  A hanten is a knee length jacket in kimono style which often is worn showing the crest of the family you work for (e.g., livery) or occupation (fisherman, fireman).
Fireman's coat

Festival hanten with fishermen
Embroidered pants
There were many examples of  work jackets for firemen.  When fighting a fire, they would wear two layers of garments and then have water poured on them to completely soak the garments.

Fireman's hat
Fireman's undergarments.
Sashiko emboirdery and shibori-stitched section goes with kasuri leaf
pattern above.
Leaf pattern of warp and weft kasuri.
The previous leaf kasuri and flower shibori
are part of this beautiful work kimono.

When I returned to the Musashisakai train station,  I stepped down from the bus to find the central plaza wreathed in blue Christmas lights!

This is my last adventure of my trip.  Back to Mama-san's and packing and a dinner of sushi from Seiyu Department Store.

Kasuri and sashiko embroidered work aprons
It's already Christmas time in Japan!

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