Monday, June 21, 2010
Kimono and Obi
One of my joys in living in Japan is to see kimono. Good kimono and obi are arts. I enjoy the designs and the contrasts that obi and kimono make. The Japanese colors are basically all come from the indigenous plants. The dyeing technique is called kusaki-zome. They are very vivid and beautiful.
In wearing kimono(no singular or plural form in Japanese), the contrasts are enjoyable to look at such as different colors, dark vs. light, small prints vs. large prints, natural motif vs. geometric motif, and dyeing or printing textile vs. woven textile. There are rules to wear kimono, but they are common sense for traditional artists. One rule is not to wear hand-woven textile kimono with a hand-
woven obi. If we wear a kimono of hand-woven material, we wear an obi that went through dyeing or printing process, and vice versa. That’s an effective contrast in texture.
But nowadays, the strict rules do not apply. Many kimono lovers break the rules and enjoy their kimono. I forgot her name, but a young woman with PhD in arts has been making geometric designs using the computer graphic. Her kimono and obi are both geometric although the designs and the size of the designs vary. So, people try all kinds of things to challenge the tradition, but the classic designs and the way to contrast among an obi sash, a kimono, undergarments, linings, a band, an obi-scarf gives kimono lovers immense pleasure. It’s fun to plan the combination as well as just to look at.