The kimono arrived–promptly, as I have come to expect of Ichiroya. It is all that I could have wished for; it is so beautiful. From the full kimono picture, it is difficult to see all the wonderful shibori and subtly-dyed detail, but it is a joy to look at, to examine, and to discover new nuances of pattern and design. The color is more vibrant than the image from which I ordered the kimono, but I was already certain, from experience, that it would be the case. The close-up is only a small segmentof the design but it is possible to see the variety of ways in which the shibori has been used. I have always been fascinated with shibori; in case I haven’t already explained, shibori is shaped-resist dying that has been used for many centuries in many countries, Japan being perhaps the foremost.
Because they knew of my interest, Andrew and Linda, my son and daughter-in-law gave me this wonderful volume on shibori that I have had sitting in a prominent place and have probably perused and oohed and aahed over only once or twice since I received it. Last night, having hung the kimono in its place of honor, I brought out the book again and I was blown away. The part of the shibori story that I have been planning to tell is my discovery in the Museum of Kyoto of contemporary uses of this ancient artform, in other words, Shibori Now, which just happens to be the subtitle of the book. I bought these beautiful scarves in Kyoto as gifts and Brent bought the single one for me.
Pig-in-a-poke is an idiom that refers to a confidence trick originating in the Late Middle Ages, when meat was scarce but apparently rats and cats were not.
The scheme entailed the sale of a “suckling pig” in a “poke” (bag). The wriggling bag actually contained a cat—not particularly prized as a source of meat—that was sold unopened to the victim.
A common colloquial expression in the English language, to “buy a pig in a poke,” is to make a risky purchase without inspecting the item beforehand. The phrase can also be applied to accepting an idea or plan without a full understanding of its basis. Similar expressions exist in other languages, most of them meaning to buy a cat in a bag.
*From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Often I think that buying certain items on the web, in spite of some sellers’ (often mammoth) efforts, is much like buying a pig in a poke. I have been buying fabric for some time now, and although I consider myself to be a discerning consumer, I am often disappointed, sometimes even dismayed, by the difference between the image that the seller chooses to show and the reality of the actual fabric. And, of course, obversely, I am sometimes delighted. Maybe a pig in a poke isn’t a completely accurate analogy. One can certainly tell whether what is pictured is a pig or a cat; what can’t be known is what kind of pig or cat it is. A better analogy would be the blind man and the elephant. The (blind) buyer who sees the leg will imagine an entirely different product from the buyer who sees the trunk or the buyer who sees the ear. Continue reading
I have always been fascinated with Japanese design, and the fabrics (and certainly the design itself) of my bags and pillows and other items–I am currently in the throes of designing scarves using the wonderful kimono silks I have been collecting–all reflect that interest. Many of the Kasuri indigos and all of the silks come directly from the Ichiroya Kimono Flea Market. Recently Ichiroya has added affiliate shops. My favorites: Rikyu, a tea mart with interesting items associated with the tea ceremony –tea accessories and some folk art; Ichiroya Antiques where I have been finding amazing Christmas gifts–an antique red lacquered sewing box and a wonderfully playful clay Bizen rabbit; and most recently a fine arts shop, Shukado, with some marvelous Japanese woodblock prints, from which I have just convinced BW to buy me this extraordinary Kuniyoshi 1852 woodblock print and now have the distinction of having been their first online customer.
Here is the history of my print (with some further translation from the description on the website–my additions in bold type):
The artist is Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861)
In the late 1840s, Kuniyoshi began to illustrate actor prints. He produced the 70 Medetai (happy) series in 1852. At the background of a beauty, his pupil depicted well-known specialties from all over Japan. I assume this means that the artist himself completed only the figure of the woman/beauty with pupil/apprentices working on the scene of the pottery workers in the background.
The series title Sankai Medetai zu e , and the title of the piece Atama ga itai (headache) and Satsuma Yakimono are shown to the upper right of the image. The artist signature Kuniyoshi and his seal are shown on the bottom right corner.
In this piece, satsumayaki (a type of Japanese earthenware pottery) and the industrial artists are depicted on the back. In the front, there is a woman who is turning down for headache, but the relationship between the satumayaki and the woman is unknown.
When Gloria Swanson uttered the now infamous line, “Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up” in the film, Sunset Boulevard, she imagined herself the glamorous star she had once been–and star she was–in her own private studio, complete with director and cameraman and staircase. A star, indeed–no waiting for recognition, no competition, no auditions. Continue reading