Tashiro-san, who taught the Japanese language class I took, called me this weekend to tell me about a concert the Japanese-American Society of Mississippi is sponsoring here in Jackson. It is a performance by the Chieko Fukuda Ensemble, which is a trio of Japanese musicians who perform a type of Japanese traditional music called Sankyoku. Sankyoku uses 3 instruments - koto, a 6 foot long horizontal 13 stringed instrument, shamisen, a 3 stringed banjo-like instrument, and shakuhachi, a reedless end-blown bamboo flute. Mark and I are going to see them on June 14, and I am really looking forward to it!
Then she told me about a wedding kimono someone had given to her, and invited me to come see it. Needless to say, I accepted her invitation with alacrity, and hurried right over! She also let me take pictures. The kimono was absolutely stunning. The stitches were so tiny, Tashiro-san asked me if I thought it was machine stitched. I told her no, the Japanese Master Embroiders hand stitched those tiny, delicate stitches. The kimono is made of light blue silk, and it is embroidered with silk threads and gold threads. I am adding these images as big as I can so you can see as much of the exquisite detail as possible.
This is a closer picture of the top half. Not only is the embroidery beautiful, but it is rich in meaning. Everything embroidered on the kimono is symbolic. I wish I had more time to study all of the symbols in person. The cranes represent longetivity and new life. The red and white flowers are cherry blossoms, and they represent spring time. The yellow/gold and red flowers are sunflowers, and they represent summer.
This is the bottom half. The leaves represent autumn, and the snow covered trees represent winter. There are green pine trees above the snow covered trees, and they represent endurance, good luck, and happiness. The bamboo under the snow covered trees represent strength and honesty.
Those are just a few of the symbols I could pick out from my pictures. The embroidery tells a story and contains blessings for the new couple. I really wish I could study the kimono in person, and dig into all of the plants, animals, and objects on it. The rich symbology of Japanese culture is one of the things I love best about it.
She also had an obi on display. It is black silk embroidered with chrysanthemums. Rich, elegant, and scrumptious, isn't it?
I really want a kimono of my own. One day!!