Exhibition: Kuba – Fabric of an Empire

Exhibition dates: 19 August 2018 – 24 February 2019

This exhibition of dazzling Kuba textiles presented in the Baltimore Museum of Art’s Cone Collection galleries reveals how a central African kingdom independently developed a form of modernist abstraction in the 20th century.

The Kuba kingdom, on the southern edge of the Congolese Rainforest in central Africa, developed one of the greatest civilisations in the history of the continent. Art and design were central to their life. In addition to an elaborate and varied masquerade tradition, Kuba men and women were prolific textile artists, even weaving houses and embroidering currency. As the kingdom grew richer and more powerful, Kuba men and women began to create increasingly abstract designs. Works produced in Kuba’s earlier periods are defined by repeating patterns and minute details. Textiles created at the height of the kingdom’s power and prestige are characterised by bold, inventive designs that are constantly in flux.

An excellent in depth review of this exhibition, entitled A Great African Kingdom Tells Its History In Fabulous Royal Clothes, by Tim McDonnell with many additional images can be found here

For further information on visiting the exhibition see the website of the Baltimore Museum of Art

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Exhibition: Kimono and Obi – Romantic Echoes From Japan’s Golden Age

Baltimore Museum of Art - Kimono and Obi

Exhibition dates: 10 July 2016 – 15 January 2017

The Baltimore Museum of Art presents an exquisite selection of late nineteenth- and mid-twentieth-century kimonos and obis that have never been shown before. Obi are wide sashes wrapped around the kimono wearer’s waist and tied in an ornate knot at the back. These stunning garments were made after the lifting of sumptuary laws during Japan’s Edo period (1603–1867), when commoners were forbidden to wear showy clothing with colours such as red or purple. The Meiji Era (1868–1912) coincided with increased prosperity as Japan entered the industrial age, and this newfound wealth was often expressed in lavish garments. Many of these kimonos displayed decorative motifs with symbols of the Imperial Court, especially those referring to the Heian Era (794–1185), considered Japan’s golden age, when the court was in its most powerful, refined and romantic period.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is a furisode long-sleeved early twentieth-century kimono that is yuzen-dyed and hand embellished with gold and silver leaf, gold and silver metallic paints and embroidery, and lined in red silk decorated with gold pigments. Six other kimonos, 8–10 obis, and related Japanese objects will also be displayed.

For more information, visit the website of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, USA.