Japan underwent profound social change at the beginning of the 20th century. Western-style industrialization transformed the ancient country from an agrarian village society to an increasingly urban one. Thousands of rural inhabitants flocked to the city and embraced the modern era. Textiles reflect this remarkable change.
This exhibition of approximately 70 textiles consists of two principle types; the traditional indigo-dyed cotton textiles of feudal Japan and the flamboyant, modern kimono of the newly urban young female factory workers freshly arrived from the farm.
During the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1867) commoners were subject to various sumptuary laws that regulated what they could wear. Indigo-dyed cotton and bast fiber textiles were the common option. The laws did not, however, restrict the astonishing creativity of the Japanese peasant. Various tie dying, stenciling, and resist dying techniques reached their technical apogee in this period. Frugality and innate good taste directed the hand of weavers and dyers.
The majority of the pieces in this exhibition were assembled over many years by Fifi White and Elizabeth Wilson, co-founders of Asiatica, located in Kansas City. Renowned for their impeccable taste and deep knowledge of Japan this collection reflects myriad collecting trip to Japan and consummate connoisseurship.