A show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art displays more than 120 Japanese textiles made from the stuff of nature
“Exhibitions on the dress of Japan always focus on the silk kimono and clothes worn by the aristocracy,” says the curator Andreas Marks. “Dressed by Nature instead celebrates the inventiveness and beauty of folk traditions and clothes worn in everyday life.” The textiles will be contextualised by historic photographs, paintings, woodblock prints and video clips that explore the use and fabrication of the materials. The museum acquired most of the show’s textiles in 2019 from the collector and art dealer Thomas Murray, and additional pieces were subsequently added to the institution’s collection after an earlier show was postponed due to the pandemic.
One of the highlights is a 19th-century woman’s fish-skin festival coat (hukht) made by the Nivkh people of Sakhalin Island. The skins of the carp and salmon that the community fished for sustenance were removed in single pieces, dried and then moistened to create a lightweight waterproof and wind-resistant material, which the Nivkh decorated with embroidery and appliqué. Another standout textile is an 18th-century attush robe (made from elm tree bark) decorated with talismanic pendants from the sea, such as fish bones, sturgeon scales, shells and tassels.
• Dressed by Nature: Textiles of Japan, Minneapolis Institute of Art, 25 June-11 September
Source: Art News