Red uchikake. Mid Edo
period (1750-1825), Japan. The Kimono
Gallery. This rare and stunning chirimen crepe-silk uchikake wedding kimono
which features twenty-five embroidered tortoises. The richness of the dyes and
silks, the extensive metallic embroidery, and the extraordinary design indicate
that this was created by talented artists for a high-ranking samurai family. No
other extant kimono found in museums or known private collections bears design
similarities to this unique example. It so unusual for a kimono to be decorated
with only tortoises, that one scratches one’s head about the intent: it has the
padded hem typical of uchikake, but could this robe have been created for a
different function than a wedding, such as for the stage or a different
ceremony, a Shinto one perhaps? The embroidered tortoises were created with
silver and gold couching. Some of the turtle shells are of gold, while others
are of a gold/silver mixture. This couching is unusual in that it involves not
only the main outside, but also the interior and the padded hem. The five mon
(family crests) are couched in gold thread. The inner lining is of a beni red
sha silk. Young samurai women of high birth were dressed in this particular
color of red - known as “akahime” to mean red princess. The red
represented the passion hidden within a blue blood. Japanese notions regarding
the tortoise (kame) form a complex tapestry woven from Hindu, Taoist, Confucian
and Buddhist traditions. These traditions claim that the tortoise helps prop up
the world, guards the northern quadrant of the universe together with the
snake, and carries on its carapace sacred inscriptions. The animal is believed
to live an exceptional age, at which time, it develops a flowing white tail and
exhales special vapours that conjure up sacred jewels. Beliefs in the tortoises
longevity have linked it, in turn, to the Taoist paradise of Mount Horai and to
the underwater palace of the Dragon King of the Sea. . This latter linkage is
reflected in folktales. “Urashima Taro” the most prominent among
them, that feature a tortoise navigating between the real and imagined worlds
and the terrestrial and marine domains.
THE BLACKLIST Titan Comics - Cover A / Cover B – Photo Variant
The Blacklist #6 Start of a brand new story arc. When a terrible explosion and fire rips through an Italian high security prison and a small rural town in America is incinerated in an horrific chemical plant accident, Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, the Concierge of Crime, realises that the sinister organisation known as the Cabal is cleaning house and using a deadly new Blacklister by the name of the Arsonist to cover their tracks with large-scale, pyrotechnic attacks.
The Blacklist #7 With the Fulcrum now in the hands of the Cabal organization and new Blacklister The Arsonist continuing his pyrotechnic campaign of destruction, Red and Liz find themselves in a deadly race against time to stop him before he can destroy any more of the Cabal’s secrets.
The Blacklist #8 As the FBI continues its manhunt for wanted fugitive (and former agent) Elizabeth Keen, Red helps Liz overcome her incapacitating fear of fire in order to strike back against the Arsonist - even if it risks leading the FBI right to her doorstep.
The Blacklist #9 As the FBI and the Cabal both close in on their location, Red and Liz take refuge in a mysterious, off-the-grid town designed for criminals on the run.
While planning their final move against the Arsonist, Liz discovers the town holds many secrets - including one about Red himself.
Artists - Beni Lobel / Colin Lorimer Author - Nicole Dawn Phillips
Picture Book : Plum of the Bedchamber (Toko no ume 艶本床の梅) Kitagawa Utamaro (喜多川歌麿) 1800 Kansei Era 2/12
A folding album in the ‘chuban’ format, employing a “red avoiding” (beni-girai) colour-scheme; the only example of this within Utamaro’s erotic ‘oeuvre’. The preface is by Sukitei, the erotic ‘nom de plume’ of the comic writer Shikitei Samba, who at the end makes reference to Utamaro as the artist, calling him by his erotic alias Mudamara (Waste Prick).
Utamaro even makes an appearance as a character in the pornographic story that concludes the volume, where, significantly, the normal characters of his name are glossed with the pronunciation “Utamaru”. In addition, the Fukagawa prostitute in the third plate addresses her lumberman client as [Masadaya no] Zen-san, and also mentions another lumberman, Murataya no Sho-san. Hayashi Yoshikazu argues these are both slightly altered versions of the names of real-life acquaintances of Utamaro, who make regular appearances in his erotic works, along with the disguised personae of some of his publishers. Thus there is a lot more specific content to Utamaro’s ‘shunga’ than just entertainingly erotic pictures and stories.
The dating of the work relies on a remark made by the man in plate 5: “Oh! Oiwa, I fell for you when I saw you at the Musashiya at the time of the display of treasures at Mimeguri Shrine” (Kore Oiwa-bo Mimeguri no kaicho no toki Musashiya de mi-somete oita). This display of treasures (kaicho) at Mimeguri began on the 15th day of the second month, 1799 (see cat. nos. 328, 329), so the present work is thought to have been issued at the following New Year.
Wedding over-kimono. Early
19th century (1810-1840), Japan. The
Kimono Gallery. A chirimen (crepe) silk uchikake featuring decorations of
rustic rural scenes of pavilions, bridges, boats, pine trees, rivers, as well
as many plum trees in full blossom. These motifs were created painstakingly and
masterfully, utilizing a combination of yuzen paste-resist dyeing, sumi e
painting, and silk embroidered details that are accented with extensive use of
gold thread couching. Subtle color shading was accomplished of painting on silk
with ‘bokashi’, gradual shade dying accented with brush strokes (dry and
not-so-dry). The inner lining and lower hem is of a very fine beni red silk
softened to a dark salmon color. This wedding over-kimono garment would likely
have been worn by a samurai household bride. It is probable that the different
bridges and pavilions depicted on this robe represent actual structures at the
time. The bridge on the lower part is possibly the Uji bridge of Kyoto; such
scenes of famous places are referred to as “meisho-e”. A bride
wearing a meisho-e robe proclaimed that she had both the financial resources
and leisure to visit such locales.