Vivid - book on Meisen Kimono
“Vivid: Kimono Avant-Garde in the Early 20th Century” features approximately 70 outstanding Meisen kimono, popular in Japan from the early to mid 1900s. Meisen is a kasuri (ikat) weaving technique in which the threads are pre-dyed and then woven. Technological advances such as the introduction of the mechanical loom and use of chemical dyes combined with the influx of early 20th century European philosophy, art, and design to create the momentum for the vivid world of Meisen kimono to bloom.
This unpaginated softcover book (approximately 200 pages) was published by Seigensha in October 2016. There are color illustrations on almost every page, including some close-ups which show the details of the designs. This copy is brand-new and in mint condition. Most of the text is in Japanese, but there are several pages of English and each illustration has an English caption.
Flowers were a common motif, including traditional Japanese flowers as well as Western flowers like tulips and roses. The designs were abstract, sometimes geometric, and had innovative colors. Traditional kimono patterns like hemp, arabesque leaves and arrow feathers were also used but were transformed and arranged with a modern twist, such as extremely enlarged or in eccentric colors, opening up a new window of expression. Tools and machines from daily life were other important Meisen motifs. Some, such as yachts and tennis rackets, reflected the public’s admiration for the new Western culture flooding into the market. Abstract designs were also used by the designers, strongly influenced by Western art including impressionism, cubism, fauvism, and futurism.
This collection was exhibited at the Istituto Gioapponese di Cultura in Roma (the Japanese Cultural Center of Rome) from April to June 2016 that commemorated the 150th anniversary of the diplomatic relationships between Japan and Italy. Co-authored by Tetsuya Omori, Director, Ashikaga Museum of Art; Masanao Arai, Textile Historian, Former Chief Researcher of Textile Research Institute of Gunma; and Machiko Sawabe, E.V.E. Communications Group Colk Ltd, Director of Cultural Enterprise Division.
The book is organized as follows:
Chapter 1 – Vivid Meisen and Its Era – Development of Designs, Bijin-zu Posters, the Original Illustrations of Ashikaga Hon-Meisen Posters
Chapter 2 – Dazzling Vivid Meisen Kimono – Flower Motifs, Traditional Motifs, Animal Motifs, Motifs of Tools of the Era, Modernism
Cities Renowned for Meisen Production
A Stroll through Ashikaga City
List of Works