yuzen

Happy 2015 + Cool Cushions & Kimono Artisans

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk Wordpress blog

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 Happy New Year.

2015 is the year of the sheep. It is also called year of the ram and, sometimes, year of the goat. I guess I should really have given my sheep some horns.

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I lost the login details for my Wafuku Facebook page, so I have just started another called Wafuku Kimonos, you will find it here.

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Cushions I covet.
I found these great cushions on Etsy.

I love this Astro Boy one from the seller Morondanga.

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and these great ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ cushions, including a delightful soot sprite, from Homderful.

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and this No Face one, also from Morondanga.

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Morondanga also offer this nice geisha cushion

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An onigiri one

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and, away from the Japanese theme, this Lieutenant Uhura cushion that I rather like, though I do feel it should have her ear-piece. Did you know that the word uhura is Swahili for freedom?

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Yuzen kimonos are ones with hand painted textile art. They are, not surprisingly and quite justifiably, vastly expensive. Here are some pictures showing yuzen work in progress, by Takesi Goto. He has drawn the colour sketches, applied the outlines to the silk and tacked the pieces together to check the alignment. The next stage is to paint the design with textile dyes and touches of gold, all expertly done by hand, of course.

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Outlines on the tacked together pieces of the kimono

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The colour sketches of the artwork for the kimono

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Another kimono he has outlined ready for painting. I don’t have colour sketches for this one.

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Here are some fantastic stage costumes also done by Takesi Goto.

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Check out the sketches on the wall behind them too. Stunning work by a great master.

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Ypu can see some more of his work on his website here

@situnai

and more here

@mari

and more here

@yuugen

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I came across this cover of Tokyo Journal magazine, with a photo of Gene Simmons, of Kiss, wearing a kimono.  He is actually wearing a women’s kimono. You can tell by the sleeves. It also looks like it may be a female’s odori kimono (a traditional dancer’s kimono). I think the lightning strike was probably appliqued onto it for the photo shoot, as it looks added.

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There is a kimono tailor in Japan, by the name of Lyuta, who is making lovely, contemporary kimonos and haoris. His website is here and he is also on Facebook as ‘Kimono tailor LYUTA’.
I’ve added some photos of his garments below. A few are for women but most seem to be men’s garments.

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Reversible, men’s kimono

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A men’s kimono made of Marimekko fabric

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I think this is my favourite of his garments.

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A women’s kimono with pairs of cats
on an ichimatsu (checkerboard) and bokashi (shaded) background.

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Multi-tone, men’s hansome ensemble

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Pigs & Polkadots

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Note the contemporary detail of a mobile phone pocket.
Traditionally, kimonos have no pockets. Inro and  kinchaku (drawstring)
pouches held by the obi, with the help of netsuke, were used instead, with
small, light things also carried in the sleeves, now and then. Nowadays the
mobile phone demands a pocket.

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Cat-tastic Men’s Kimono

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A two tone denim, katamigawari, men’s kimono.
Katamigawari means half-and-half.

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Samurai motifs

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Close up of the haori fabric.

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Big dots on bold, bright green

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Oatmeal denim men’s kimono
another with the unusual addition of pockets for that ubiquitous phone, tablet etc.
Notice that, like most good quality kimonos, these appear to be hand stitched.

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A denim kimono for a young girl
who chose these fabrics for her kimono

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Arabesque pattern, above and below.

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The tailor himself.
I think that is in his shop

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Reversible- Pinstripes & Polkadots.

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The spotty side, for those less subdued moods

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Heart Fancy, men’s kimono

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Lots of labels

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Military style kimono for a man.

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Delightful daisies haori

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An old murayama-(oshima-)tsumugi with red lining, as a male kimono.

 An old Oshima tsumugi kimono relined in red textile.
More often than not, these Oshima tsumugi kimonos are lined in
indigo dyed cotton. I really like the red replacement in this one.

Those are just some examples of Kimono tailor Lyuta’s creations. I love his style

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You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.

www.wafuku.co.uk

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One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora

haorisweeritao

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Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 

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Textile Art To Drool Over

wafuku blog aug 12 logo A

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk Wordpress blog

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Japanese textile art often leaves me overwhelmed by its beauty and intricacy. Many kimonos have hand applied textile art, known as yuzen, created by several artisans, from the designer to an artist whose speciality may be outlining, another whose speciality is shading, perhaps one who applies metallic lacquer etc.There are also magnificent examples of textile art that is woven and some is hand printed or stencilled or created using batik or shibori (tye dye) techniques.

I am saying this simply as an excuse to show off some beautiful examples of the Japanese garments I have.

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This next kimono has a wonderful repeat landscape.

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Blind Man’s Bluff on a Men’s Haori Lining.
One way geisha entertain is by playing lighthearted games and here, on the donsu silk lining of a men’s haori, is a portrayal of a game of blind man’s bluff being played in a dark room, by just the light of the moon coming through a little window.
The outside of the haori is black habutae silk, with 5 mon, making it the most formal haori, called an itsutsu montsuki haori.

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The outside of that haori; black habutae silk with 4-eye mon. There are three mon at the back and two at the front, making it the most formal style of men’s montsuki haori.

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Mount Fuji Through clouds. Simple but striking.

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The textile artist has added his signature to this kimono.

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An antique furisode kimono. This kimono has the ultra-deep swinging sleeves of a furisode (only worn by young, unmarried women) and wonderful artwork including brightly coloured flowers, beautiful birds, ouches of lacquer work and lavish, gold  embroidery.

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A delightful woven design on a pre tied obi.

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You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.

www.wafuku.co.uk

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One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora

haorisweeritao

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Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 

Textile Art To Die For – Or Wed For

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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My latest uchikake kimono

I know I must not buy more kimonos, I can’t move for the things and my home is now a warehouse with them crowding me out of every room but I could not resist the exquisite uchikake kimono you see below. It was expensive, as was the shipping from Japan, since it weighs about 6 kilos, so I can’t keep it and it will end up for sale on my website but I get to own it briefly, at least, and that will do. I have nowhere to display it anyway and it does not deserve to be hidden away in a box. It hasn’t arrived from Japan yet but I am quite excited about seeing it up close.

An uchikake is worn by a bride in Japan, part of one of many outfits she wears on her wedding day. They are not worn with an obi, they are worn open, rather like a coat, over her kimono and obi.

Uchikake are worn trailing on the ground, the bride stands with the hem laid out around her and the padded hem makes the bottom lie beautifully

It has magnificent aranami (wild waves), flying tsuru (cranes) and kumo (clouds). Cranes are a popular motif on wedding kimonos, as they are symbols of longevity, fidelity and loyalty. The Japanese believed cranes live for one thousand years. They mate for life.

On the front and on the back of one sleeve are red botan (peonies), symbolising happiness, wealth, and honour.

This uchikake is pure silk and has yuzen textile art, which means it was hand painted on the bolt of fabric used to make it. It will have cost ten to twenty thousand pounds, easily. In Japan, brides usually hire the uchikake for the wedding day, which will still cost a couple of thousand for the day’s hire. This makes buying a vintage one, for wear or display, a real bargain, as it will only cost a few hundred pounds and you get to keep it.


Haori Photo Shoot – The Versatile Kimono Jacket

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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Haoris in the sunshine – A photo shoot with fabulous, Japanese haori kimono jackets

Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day here in Scotland, so I made the most of it and had a photo session to get pictures of a few of my Japanese haori kimono jackets. Astrella modelled them all for me, sweltering in the heat without a word of complaint. We took 331 photos and I have selected 58 for you to feast your eyes on here.  The pictures may help you gauge the general length of them, as haori are longer than many people realise from pictures of them just on a hanger. Astrella is five foot one inch tall (roughly 155cm) and a UK size 10 and about 125 cm from wrist to wrist.

The first haori shown below is covered in large, pink and white ume (plum bossom) and shows how good haori can look when worn with a belt, which is something the Japanese don’t do. They wear them unbelted on top of a kimono and obi. You may notice that haori (and kimono) sleeve seams lie down the arms a bit, not up at the edge of the shoulders. The traditional way of fastening a haori, if one chooses to fasten it at all,  is with a single tie, just inside the fronts, called a himo, which holds the fronts edge to edge, not overlapped. As you can see, though, from photos on this page, haori do also look extremely good with a a belt added. The first one below is being worn with a wide elastic belt.

This next one has magnificent textile art of bright flowers on black, shown modelled with a narrow leather belt as well as without a belt. The large white stitching at the edge of the sleeves is called shitsuke and is often put in, by the Japanese, just to keep garment seams neat during storage. It is simply pulled out before wearing but, as this haori was just being modelled, I left it in.

All but one of the haoris in these photographs is pure silk, inside and out, and all are entirely hand tailored, with the seam edges completely hidden in the lined ones, so those can actually be worn inside out too. Some have hand applied textile art. The quality of the fabric and workmanship is absolutely exquisite.

The following photograph shows a haori in a pretty pink, with a design of magenta leaves.

Now a touch of 1950s pattern. Shown, in one photo, inside out. The bottom half is usually lined in the same silk used on the outside, with a lighter weight silk on the top half and the sleeves. This haori’s upper lining has a lovely design of colourful parasols on it.

Pink leafy repeat pattern.

Graduated pampas leaf pattern on russet. The leaves become more dense towards the bottom.

Bingata style print of pretty flowers.

The one below has autumn maple leaves, shown with and without a belt and shown inside out, with the beautiful lining on show. Haori are usually so exquisitely made, with hidden seams and hand tailoring, that you can wear or display the lined ones inside out. The lower half is lined with the same silk as the outside and the upper half and sleeves are lined with a lighter silk in a different design. This one has lovely Japanese parasols on the upper lining.

In the next photo you can see how beautifully they are made, with the edges of the seams completely hidden inside and out; not a line of stitches in sight in the lined ones.

On the next haori you see a wonderful design of stylised kiku (chrysanthemums) swirling over the silk.

Now black, with striking, champagne gold, metallic urushi (lacquer covered silk thread) woven to create a landscape design.

An iro muji (self coloured), scarlet haori, with flowers in the damask weave of the silk. I do wish I’d ironed it before the photos, though. They usually aren’t creased when unfolded, as there is a special way of folding haoris and kimonos to ensure they very rarely require ironing when unfolded for use.

Swirls of dragon fire on black silk, with subtle touches of gold detailing that are lovely when up close. A 1930s haori, so slightly longer than most of my more recent ones, with slightly deeper sleeves too.

Magnificent birds and flowers.

Big, pink butterflies on black.

Vermillion flowers and leaves on black.

Now for two examples of kuro muji (plain black) haoris, with patterns in the weave that the photos haven’t picked up. Each has one white mon (crest) at the centre of the back at shoulder level.

This second plain black one, below, is an antique haori, which are often longer than more recent ones. This one is 102cm long.  I am keeping it for myself.

Below is another metallic urushi landscape design haori, this one with glinting, distant mountains and a formal mon (crest) at the centre of the shoulders, making it a hitotsu mon (one mon) haori

An unusual one next. It’s a large sized, child’s michiyuki jacket but big enough for an adult to wear. It would fit a child because children wear them with big tucks loosely stitched in the shoulders, narrowing the width. Children’s ones have a collar and tassels, whereas adult michiyuki usually don’t have either of those and would also be longer than this one. The michiyuki you see in the next two photos is made of shibori patterned silk, with little red dots all over and large ume (plum blossom). Shibori is an intricate tie dye process, usually painstakingly, entirely hand done, making it a frighteningly expensive fabric that is highly revered by the Japanese, so this garment would have been for a child from a family with a great deal of money.

In Japan, haori jackets are not worn with the fronts overlapping and not worn with a belt but michiyuki jackets are worn overlapped at the front and they are usually fastened with press studs, which in itself is unusual, as almost all traditional Japanese garments are fastened only by tying; using using various sashes, cords, obis etc.

Finally, black silk, with painterly, red branches and little ume (plum blossom), shown with and without a smile. This is a haori that the model has kept for herself, to wear with her red, Terry De Havilland shoes

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More Japanese kimonos prepared and listed but so many more to do

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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I spent last night preparing photos of kimonos etc. I brought a few stacks of them downstairs to my sitting room to force myself to work through them. I have so many that I forget what I have, so listing a new batch on my site is nice, as I get a chance to look at them again.
I promised myself I wouldn’t buy any more, as I have thousands of items, but I weakened and bought three more pairs of pretty zori. What I do need to buy is cellophane bags, as I’ve run out of those and I put each garment into one.
It is a lot of work’

Below are two of the silk kimonos I photographed tonight; one woman’s kimono and one man’s juban kimono.

dark blue foral kimono

ukiyoe design an's juban kimono

A girl from Glasgow University’s Japan Society contacted me on Facebook to ask if I might help at one of their meetings, where they planned to dress people in yukata kimonos and take photos. She wanted me to come in full kimono outfit and I would have been happy to but I don’t visit Facebook often and got her mail there too late.
Maybe next time, as I am fond of Glasgow University and their Japan Society people are nice.

I can hear an owl hooting outside; it’s now nearly 4am.


 


Japanese Geisha Doll – wafuku.co.uk

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I took some photos of a Japanese geisha doll I own, to show here. This is my own doll, not one for sale on my vintage kimono site.

Her face, hands and feet are wood that is covered in gofun, which is powdered oyster shells. Gofun gives a finish rather like porcelain. Her dark brown eyes are glass. She is in the midst of a dance, one of the arts of a geisha. Geisha actually means artist and they learn many arts, including dance, musicianship and the art of conversation.

Her hair is real, though probably yak hair, which grows long enough to make an excellent facsimile of human hair. Real maiko and geisha suffer greatly for their hair; to achieve the styles they traditionally wear, it has to be waxed, then combed painfully into shape, swept back from their faces. Many geisha eventually develop a bald spot because the hair is pulled back so tightly in the centre and fastened like that. Rather than be upset by this, they tend to be proud of it, as it is a mark of a geisha. To maintain the hairstyle, they must sleep using a takamakura; a tiny neck pillow raised on a support, keeping the head above the bed, so the hair does not get messed up during sleep. While maiko must have their own hair styled, many opt for the use of wigs after they become geisha. The hair has to be restyled every five days or so and they cannot wash it.

The doll’s hair has 3 kougai (hairpins) and other kanzashi (hair ornaments), like the traditional, large comb in the centre

Her parasol is bamboo, covered in the finest, sheer silk and does actually open. Her little feet have gofun tabi socks. Shoes are not usually worn indoors in Japan, particularly in the tea houses where geisha are hostesses

The kimono is silk, with a yuzen (hand applied) artwork on it and a thickly padded hem, designed to trail on the ground. A padded hem makes a trailing kimono always lie nicely on the ground, when dancing the geisha moves the hem around with little, elegant flicks of her feet.

The neck of her kimono is pulled low at the back. Kimonos are worn with the neck pulled down at the back and the younger the wearer, the further down it is worn. Geisha and maiko wear it lower than the average person. The neck is considered very sensuous and sexy in Japan, so revealing the neck and emphasising it with white make up is considered very attractive. It is pretty much the equivalent of showing cleavage here in the West.

The obi is deep at the front, with the usual obiage around the top of the sash (you can see part of the red obiage threaded through the top of the obi’s rear knot) and a russet obijime, which is a cord tied around the centre of the obi sash (also threaded through the rear knot, it is visible at the front of the obi in the last photo). The obi knot is tied asymmetrically, though strictly speaking, it is not really tied, it is folded into shape with the obiage and obijime holding it in place

The kimono is a lovely grey colour but, as can be seen in the photo below, was originally blue. The dyes used in old blue silks (and many purples) seem to fade faster than any other colour but I particularly like the grey shade it has faded to over the years. It was already grey when I bought it. I used to have more dolls but, with my collection of Japanese items getting out of hand, I decided to keep only this one.


 


Stunning & Unusual Kimono Examples

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The two kimonos shown here are, sadly, not mine but are wonderful examples of unusual kimonos, with striking textile art, obviously influenced by the West. They appear to have been designed by the same person.
First is one that I assume was inspired by the film Jaws, with a terrifying shark surging out of the water.

The second has a Halloween theme, with a pumpkin lantern, a cute witch, spooky house, moon and the most beautiful bubbles. Halloween is not a Japanese thing, so, like the Jaws inspired one, the influence of the West is clear in this kimono’s design.

I would absolutely love these kimonos in my own collection but they were beyond my price rage