Last year the Manggha Museum came by an assembly of interesting kimono, obi sashes and other accessories for this traditional Japanese garment, through gifts of two collections received from Ms Reiko Nagakura and Ms Małgorzata Olejniczak. In appreciation of our donors, we would like to share the most interesting items from these collections with the public in an exhibition.
Diversity in the traditional Japanese garment is attained by the use of many types of fabrics and patterns. The decors are executed either manually or by machines, using a variety of methods: weaving, painting or embroidering. The manual preparation of fabrics for kimono still takes place at specialized workshops nowadays, although the use of machines and computers is more common. The simple form of the kimono makes it possible to focus on its decoration. Over the centuries, the use of many techniques and great inventiveness on the part of the designers in the creation of sophisticated patterns and motifs turned the kimono into one of the most beautiful forms of Japanese art, and the successive eras spawned their own specific styles.
The images used in kimono are fine, colourful decors, often with additional symbolic meaning. Kimono makers show a preference for depictions of the world of nature changing along with the seasons of the year: plants, animals, views of water, waves, clouds or snowflakes. Compositions based on complex geometric patters are also characteristic, with frequent visual references to shapes found in nature, such as zigzags, grilles, or bands. The pattern design is always a carefully-thought-out composition, and even if the kimono changes its shape when worn by a person, the most interesting part will always remain visible.
The exhibition is an invitation to take a look at kimono and obi in terms of their decorative quality contained within a simple form. In this day and age of consumerism, we would like our show to be a special opportunity to find inspiration, to transform forms, compositions or decors in your own creative endeavours and express yourself through fashion, dress, and the objects that surround us.
Kyoto Nishikawa, Kyoto - Krakow Foundation