November 16, 2014
The Element of Surprise in Japanese Kimono Tradition
Ann Marie Moeller
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Japanese textile scholar Ann Marie Moeller will explore the sophisticated level of kimono and obi design in which a garment is made to change appearance depending on lighting or proximity. Patterns can literally appear and disappear due to a passing cloud or the angle of observation. Many different weaving, embroidery and dying techniques are used to achieve these effects. Hidden designs on linings and under kimono can be revealed by the wearer’s movements. In addition, outer wear like haori (kimono jackets) often display a striking lining as the garment is taken off. Few, if any, other cultures have as highly developed an aesthetic of creating garments that surprise in both casual and intimate settings.
Ann Marie Moeller is an independent curator and Japanese textile scholar who has collected kimono since her student years at Harvard. She lectures nationally for a wide variety of institutions including The Smithsonian Associates, The Asia Society, The Textile Museum, The Smithsonian Renwick Gallery, The Waters Art Museum and The Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan. Main author of Reading Kimono: Symbols and Motifs in Japanese Textiles, to be published by Schiffer, she has curated textile exhibitions for the Kennedy Center, the International Monetary Fund, the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan.
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