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Gordon Campbell

Unwoven cloth made from the bast (inner bark) of a tree. It is also known as ‘tapa’, with reference to the Polynesian bark cloth made from the bark of the paper mulberry and used for clothing. There is a huge collection of Polynesian bark cloth in the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu. In sub-Saharan Africa bark cloth was traditionally decorated with free-hand painting applied with grass brushes, and was used for room-dividers and screens as well as clothing. Its widest application was in Japan, where bark cloth was used for windows, screens, kites, flags and umbrellas....

Article

Jenny F. So

Functional personal accessory used in China from the Eastern Zhou period (771–256 bc) to the 2nd century ad, after which elaborate forms evolved with a purely symbolic and decorative purpose. The typical Chinese belthook (also sometimes garment hooks), which was worn by both men and women, was made of ...

Article

Celadon  

Gordon Campbell

European term for a type of Chinese stoneware also known as greenware; the name derives from the colour of the dress worn by the shepherd Céladon in the stage version of Honoré d'Urfe's 17th-century pastoral romance, L'Astrée. The natural presence of small percentages of iron and titanium oxide in the glaze raw materials gave a wide range of celadon greens when fired in a reducing atmosphere. The glaze was later imitated in the stoneware of Japan and Korea, and still later in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. China began to export celedons to Japan in the Song period (...

Article

Inrō  

Gordon Campbell

Japanese container for herbal medicines, attached by a cord and worn hanging from the waist. In the 16th century the plain black lacquer inrō came into fashion, and by the 17th century it had developed into the decorated gold lacquer inrō. Most lacquer artists active during the 18th and 19th centuries made ...

Article

Phylis Floyd

French term used to describe a range of European borrowings from Japanese art. It was coined in 1872 by the French critic, collector and printmaker Philippe Burty ‘to designate a new field of study—artistic, historic and ethnographic’, encompassing decorative objects with Japanese designs (similar to 18th-century ...

Article

Pamela Roskin

Japanese fashion designer. Rei Kawakubo, the fashion designer and creator of Comme des Garçons (Like Some Boys), is best known for her often oversized, asymmetrical, monochromatic and deliberately imperfect clothing (see fig.).

Born during World War II, Kawakubo was the oldest of three children. She described her childhood years as comfortable and normal even though her parents divorced, which was unusual in post-war Japan. Her father was an administrator at Keio University, a prestigious college in Tokyo, and her mother taught English at a local high school. In ...

Article

Mai Vu

Japanese fashion designer, active in Tokyo and Paris (see fig.). For his Autumn/Winter 1998 collection, Issey Miyake sent all his models down the Paris catwalk in a single stream of red, knitted tubing. Unlike the typical fashion show where the season’s look is unveiled in its finalized form, Miyake’s show was a presentation of his process. In collaboration with designer Dai Fujiwara, Miyake developed a radical approach to fashion design. Utilizing technological advances in fibre, fabric and computer science, he created a system to manufacture individual garments from a single thread. The method, known as A-POC, an acronym for ‘A Piece of Cloth’, is Miyake’s solution to the complicated manufacturing methods of traditional cut-and-sew garments....

Article

Transculturalism proposes an approach to contemporary Asian art practices that addresses the conditions defining the modern experience of Asian artists living and working outside of their home countries. It is a term derived from the word transculturation, which describes the process of adjustment and re-creation that arises from the convergence of different cultures. The term became popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a period defined by major social changes wrought by globalization, increased mobility and ethnic intermingling that affected local community networks in both home and host countries, and also an upsurge in interest paid to contemporary art in and out of Asian countries....

Article

Milo Cleveland Beach

French jeweller and collector. Vever directed the family jewellery business, begun in Metz by his grandfather Pierre-Paul Vever (d 1853). After the capture of Metz in the Franco-Prussian War (1871), the family moved to Luxembourg and then Paris, where the Maison Vever became well established on the Rue de la Paix, winning the Grand Prix of the universal expositions in ...

Article

Pamela Roskin

Japanese fashion designer ( see fig. ). Yamamoto’s influential designs combined traditional Japanese silhouettes with notions of architectural forms and impeccable tailoring. The collections from the designer’s early years were often in dark, muted colours and featured unstructured oversized layers that evoked the uncut philosophy of the Japanese kimono. Later in his career, he incorporated splashes of bright colour into his pieces....