2007年10月17日 星期三

'Aesthetic understatement' blossomed in Edo

'Aesthetic understatement' blossomed in Edo


Princess Chikako or Kazunomiya (1846-1877), the eighth daughter of Emperor Ninko (1800-1846), traveled from Kyoto to Edo (present-day Tokyo) in a grand procession in the early winter of 1861. The following year, the 15-year-old princess was married to another teenager of her age--Tokugawa Iemochi (1846-1866), the 14th shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate. It was a marriage of political convenience intended to sustain the authority of the shogunate, but the young couple fell genuinely in love with each other. Iemochi was only 20 when he died of illness during a military campaign to subjugate the Choshu domain (present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture). His remains were brought back to Edo together with bolts of Nishijin-ori brocade { ━━ n., vt. 錦(にしき)[金襴(きんらん)](で飾る); 錦に織る.}he had purchased at his beloved wife's request. Sobbing inconsolably, Kazunomiya penned a tanka poem to the effect, "What am I to do with this brocade, which has value only if you are alive?" I recently went to the Tokyo National Museum to see "Legacy of the Tokugawa," an exhibition of Tokugawa Shogunate relics, which runs until Dec. 2. On display were various items handed down through generations of the mainline Tokugawa family as well as the three powerful offshoot clans of Owari, Kii and Mito. These items seemed suffused with the military might of the shogunate that controlled even the imperial family and the aristocracy. The exhibits included a flowing uchikake robe that was probably worn by Kazunomiya in the imperial court before she "descended" east to Edo from Kyoto. This was the first time the robe has been put on public display. Two and a half centuries of peace, sandwiched between the 1600 Battle of Sekigahara and the turbulence of the Meiji Restoration of 1868, brought grace and serenity to the culture of the warrior class. The effect is described as "aesthetic understatement" by Tsunenari Tokugawa, the current and 18th head of the Tokugawa family. The gleam of family swords, designated as national treasures, seemed all the more awe-inspiring because they have never been used. While the shogunate valued formality, the culture that blossomed among the common folk stressed substance rather than form. According to "Edo Kotoba 100-sen" (100 selected Edo expressions), a book by Katsumi Nakae published as part of the Seishun Shinsho series, the people of Edo were less partial to food and sundry goods produced in their own Kanto region than their more refined counterparts from Kamigata (Kyoto, Osaka and their nearby areas). In fact, the people worshiped Kamigata goods as sagari-mono, which literally means "goods bestowed from above." Kazunomiya was probably the ultimate gift bestowed upon Edo. The culture of the Edo period blossomed on multiple fronts, perpetuated by the aristocracy, the warrior class, the common folk, temples and shrines, and even via imports from overseas. While these diverse cultural facets competed and merged, the distinctive four seasons must have added color. As I strolled through Ueno Park on my way back from the museum, enjoying the sweet perfume of kinmokusei fragrant olive blossoms, I thought about the richness of the roots of Japanese culture. --The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 14(IHT/Asahi: October 16,2007)


住みなれし都路みやこじ出でて けふいく日



uchikake 打掛
CATEGORY: art history / crafts
An unbelted woman's outer garment worn over the *kosode 小袖 on formal occasions. It originated in the Kamakura period among women of the samurai 侍 elite and in the early Muromachi period was worn from early May to early September; from the end of the Muromachi period it was part of formal winter attire and made of such thick materials as karaori 唐織 and nuihaku 縫箔. From the the mid Edo period it was constructed with white, black and red figured satin rinzu 綸子, and fully embroidered with multi-colored threads. A kosode worn under an uchikake was called an aigi 合着 and an obi 帯 under an uchikake was called a kakeshita-obi 掛下帯. In the 18c, padding was added to the hem of the uchikake. The uchikake is still worn over a white kimono 着物 in the traditional wedding ceremony.


一 生に一度のイベントを、自分らしく個性的な衣裳で自分自身を華やかに演出できる衣裳製作をコンセプトに、オーソドックスな古典柄、爽やかなパステル調のモ ダン柄、レトロチックなものまで幅広く色打掛をラインナップ!きっと素敵な衣裳が見つかるはずです…全て使用糸はシルク100%に金箔、金糸などを織り込 んだ西陣織です