October 19, 2017 – January 21, 2018
Supporting Level Member Evening Preview October 17 | Exclusive Member Preview Day October 18
The use of indigo dye, or aizome, has a long and cherished history in Japan. The deep blue colors for which Japanese textiles are celebrated come from the leaves of the tade ai, a plant introduced to Japan from China in the sixth century. Inexpensive cotton fabric dyed in Japanese indigo, or ai, produced aesthetically pleasing and remarkably durable garments for daily use. Farmers wore indigo-dyed clothes for field work, believing the natural ammonia in indigo warded off mosquitoes and poisonous snakes. Silhouetted against a green rice field, the bent figures of farm men and women dressed in dark blue indigo cotton jackets and trousers became a well-known visual symbol of the textile culture of the common people of Japan. Drawn primarily from the Morikami Museum Collections, this exhibition features a range of indigo-dyed costume and textiles, including kimono, samurai jackets, festival robes, firemen’s coats, futon covers, and wrapping cloths.