In the gallery adjacent to our quilt exhibition at Expression Gallery, Upper Hutt, is a selection of Kimonos. These are from the collection of world-renown Yoshiko Wada, textile and shibori expert. Accompanying these is an exhibition of netsuke and buttons. Now, I’m certainly no expert of this type of thing, but it was a great to see the different colours and styles on display. I was not required at work today, so I decided I would start practising at being retired, and enjoy a visit to this exhibition.
The first one in the door would have to be my favourite. The woman’s haori (short kimono) in a Cherry Blossom design, was breath taking, and the gold thread glistened in the centre of the flowers. As the fabric was woven with metallic decorative yarn , this indicates it was produced prior to 1941, when the Government prohibited the use of luxury items.
Another pretty haori caught my eye. This summer silk one was made in the 1930s and features stylised roses in red, blue and white on a gray background.
This woman’s lined kimono in silk is from the 1950s. The red grid design is set on wide stripes of white, pink, khaki and black.
All I know of netsuke is what I have picked up from the experts on the Antiques Road Show on TV. They were often carved from ivory and were very beautiful little objects indeed. Ivory is no longer used these days, and these modern netsuke have been carved from a variety of materials. These small beauties by Doug Marsden are carved from bone, antler, boxwood and copper and come with a very high price tag.
This very interesting exhibition certainly opened my eyes to the beautiful silk fabrics in the vintage kimonos of display, and the tiny carved figures were amazing in their detail.