Kimono: Mirror of Modernity

19 juli tot 8 december 2024

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Japan Museum SieboldHuis is pleased to present the exhibition 'Kimono: Mirror of Modernity', (19 July to 8 December 2024). Discover the unique fusion of Japanese tradition and Western modernity in the extraordinary Manavello collection, which highlights the transition from the 19th to the 20th century. These kimonos reflect the new era of modernity that Japan embraced during this period. Be enchanted by the striking patterns, vibrant colours, and unique details in this exhibition.

Kimono Tradition

For centuries, the kimono was worn daily by Japanese people. This traditional garment is characterized by its geometric T-shape and is fastened with an obi, a wide sash. After Japan opened in 1854, there was a change in the traditional use of the kimono. In 1872, an imperial decree stipulated that Western clothing must be worn at official occasions. This applied to the upper class, but in the large cities, more and more Japanese people dressed in Western attire.

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Artistic Fashion

Despite the rise of Western clothing, the kimono remained popular, especially among young women. Technological advancements led to faster and cheaper production of kimono fabrics. At the same time, new designs were introduced. Bright colours and abstract forms, inspired by European artists such as Gustav Klimt, Pablo Picasso, and Piet Mondrian, were applied to kimonos sold in department stores. Actresses and famous geishas contributed to the popularization of the modern kimono.

National Pride

While women's kimonos often featured patterns inspired by Western art, many kimonos for men and children reflected growing patriotism and enthusiasm for technological developments. Stories of Japanese expansion missions and industrialization promoted a growing nationalistic sentiment, expressed through kimonos with images of technology, expansion, and conflict.

Discover the fascinating world of the kimono, where tradition and modernity converge. Don't miss this outstanding exhibition!

Catalogue and Activities

A richly illustrated catalogue accompanies this exhibition. Authors: Lydia Manavello, Kris Schiermeier, and Roberta Orsi Landini.

There is a diverse activity program for young and old that offers further insight into ‘Kimono: Mirror of Modernity.’ For children aged 6 to 12 years, there is a free treasure hunt (in Dutch).

This exhibition is made possible by: the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Municipality of Leiden, Leiden University, the Isaac Alfred Ailion Foundation, Takeda Nederland B.V., Leiden, City of Discoveries, and the Friends of Japan Museum SieboldHuis.

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