Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Kimono of Ichimaru

On the same day that I attended the Deepak Chopra talk with my darling daughter, I took myself off in the afternoon to wander through an exhibition of some of the kimono of Ichimaru, on loan to The Station in Okotoks by the Greater Victoria Museum where they are part of the permanent collection.

By way of a brief history, Ichimaru was born into poverty and entered a geisha house as a teenager.  She became very skilled at singing, and was said to have a nightingale like voice.  As new technology developed, singing in the restaurants and tea houses was gradually replaced by recordings.  Ichimaru sang in several movies which moved her into superstar status.  She continued to produce records and appeared on television into the 1980s.  It seems appropriate that the name of the exhibition I attended was "Ichimaru - Geisha to Diva".

Unfortunately, The Station's facility is too small for them to be able to display all the kimonos in the collection, and they were unable to display any of the obis.  The 20 or so kimono on display though were well worth the trip and included the one above.  As you can see from the padding on the bottom of the kimono, it was designed to be worn trailing.   The embroidery and goldwork on this are spectacular!  The other kimono I saw illustrated wonderful examples of embroidery, goldwork and dyeing techniques, including shibori. 

I was so tempted having my camera in my purse but not being allowed to take pictures.  Also to have these silk wonders in hands reach but knowing I could not touch - my fingers itched for the pleasure!
However, I had to satisfy myself with coming home and ordering a book, The Kimono of the Geisha-Diva Ichimaru, and now I will anxiously await it so that I can see more of these kimonos and study the pictures at my leisure. 

I have to say that seeing these exquisite garments left me in the state of mind I had hoped to achieve at the Deepak Chopra talk but didn't!  I left the museum with a sense of calm and well-being, feeling totally centered.  I will be making trips back to study the kimono again until the exhibit moves on and I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new addition to my library.  If you have a chance to see this exhibit, I highly recommend it.

1 comment:

Hideko Ishida 石田英子 said...

Oh, I remember Ichimaru, who used to be a big star on television, when I was a small child. There must be a very big culture gap between Japan and North America. I was elven(in 1960) when my parents made up their mind to buy a TV set for home. So Ichimaru was a star around that period. She was a real GEISHA then. Thank you very much for reminding me that time.