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Installation view of Kimono & Obi: Romantic Echoes from Japan’s Golden Age, June 2016. Photo by Mitro Hood.
Installation view of Kimono & Obi: Romantic Echoes from Japan’s Golden Age, June 2016. Photo by Mitro Hood.

BALTIMORE, MD (Updated September 9, 2016)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) presents Kimono & Obi: Romantic Echoes from Japan’s Golden Age, an exquisite selection of late 19th-to-21st century kimono and obi on view in the museum’s Jean and Allan Berman Textile Gallery, July 10, 2016–January 15, 2017. Never before exhibited, these stunning garments, including seven kimono and an array of obi, were made after sumptuary laws were lifted early in the Meiji period (1868-1912), when commoners were no longer banned from wearing showy clothing with colors like red or purple.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is an early 20th-century long-sleeved kimono or furisode—yuzen-dyed, hand-embellished with gold and silver leaf, metallic pigments, and embroidery, and lined in red silk decorated with gold and silver leaf.

As Japan entered the industrial age in the late 1800s, kimono and obi expressed increased prosperity and new found wealth. Many of the kimono from this era display decorative motifs with symbols from Japan’s Heian period (794 to 1185) when the Imperial Court was considered its most powerful, refined, and romantic. For example, fan motifs depicted on this bridal kimono on view represent the hi-ogi, or cypress wood fans the empress and ladies of the Heian Court held to hide their faces from the stares of men. In the context of a wedding, this motif signaled the bride’s status as “Princess for the Day” and represented the opening of a new and wonderful life ahead as a married woman.

Organized by Curator of Textiles Anita Jones and consulting curator Ann Marie Moeller.

This exhibition is generously sponsored by The Coby Foundation, Ltd.

About the Baltimore Museum of Art

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 95,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

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