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 Post subject: :jp :eng Kimono and the Colors of Japan
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 9:03 pm 
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Captain Okamisan (owner)
Captain Okamisan (owner)

Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2002 2:04 am
Posts: 3530
Fav. Maiko: Momotaro
Fav. Geiko: Tome
Fav. Motif: Uguisu
Kimono and the Colors of Japan
着物と日本の色 (ペーパーバック)
ISBN 4894444518

:jp :eng
Amazon.co.jp link
Amazon.com link
yesasia.com link


Image


Book Breakdown:
The first volume in a current set of three, this book contains beautiful full page photographs of many gorgeous kimono and obi from the collection of Katsumi Yumioka (弓岡勝美). These kimono date back to Edo era, but with a large majority of them seemingly from around Taisho/Showa.

The book is broken down into rougly 9 sections with "combination of colours" between each. The author states in his introduction that the organization of the categories have been done based on "Japanese Korkoro no Iro" - colours of the Japanese heart, using kimono or obi of specific colours to present to the readers an image of what Japanese people find individual colours to express or signify.

Each colour is devoted to it's own two page spread. One side has text both in Japanese and English and the other side has a full page photograph of a kimono or obi with the predominate colour being the one in question. The text while short, is surprisingly informative, providing us with the name of the colour in Japanese, the meaning and history behind the colour and how the colour creation is achieved. On some pages, it goes even further and provides details of the pattern on the example kimono or obi.

Below is a list of the colours represented in this book.

Red - pages 11-27
Poppy Red
Scarlet
French Vermilion (page scan and excerpt below)
Cardinal
Persimmon Red
Rose Red
Raspberry Red
Geranium
Combination of Colours - pages 28-37

Green - pages 39 - 55
Parrot Green
Mist Green (page scan and excerpt below)
Jade Green
Light Lime Green
Blue Conifer
Eggshell Green
Spruce Green
Jewel Green
Combination of Colours - pages 56-65

Pink - pages 67-83
Coral Pink
Cherry Pink (page scan and excerpt below)
Cupid Pink
Azalea Pink
Very Pale Orchid Pink
Tree Peony Pink
Fuchsia Pink
Rose Pink
Combination of Colours - pages 84-93

Blue - pages 95-111
Cerulean Blue
Sapphire Blue
Marine Blue (page scan and excerpt below)
Cyan Blue
Cobalt Blue
Blue Turquoise
Salvia Blue
Horizon Blue
Combination of Colours - pages 112 - 121

Brown - pages 123-139
Brick Red (page scan and excerpt below)
Sand Beige
Chestnut
Dusty Olive
Copper Rust
Garnet Brown
Coconut Brown
Van Dyke Brown
Combination of Colours - pages 140-149

Purple - pages 151-167
Fuchsia Purple
Deep Royal Purple
Blackish Purple
Purple Navy
Plum
Violet
Dusty Purple
Iris (page scan and excerpt below)
Combination of Colours - pages 168-177

Yellow - pages 179-189
Sunflower
Chartreuse Yellow
Lemon Yellow (page scan and excerpt below)
Maize
Flax
Combination of Colours 190-195

Black & White pages 197-207
Lamp Black
Snow White
Charcoal Gray
Pearl Gray
Dark Slate
Combination of Colours 208-217

Gold & Silver - pages 219-223
Gold
Silver
Combination of Colours pages 224-227


My Opinion:
I honestly cannot say enough good things about this book - to me, it is worth more than it's weight in gold and any one remotely serious in the collecting of kimono or Japanese textiles would be wise to have this book on their shelves. Personally, what I love most about this book aside from the stunning garments is that not only does it name colours and explain exactly how it is different to a shade that appears very similar, it also contains a lot of very interesting tidbits in regards to history and literature, for example:

Quote:
"Rikyucha (Dusty Olive): a light brown with a hint of green. This color is claimed to be the favorite of the eminent Muromachi-Momoyama period tea master Sen'norikyu (1522-91). Interestingly, rikyucha as the name of a color (rikyu indicating the famed tea master and cha meaning tea) didn't appear in literature until after Sen'norikyu's death, around the middle of the Edo period. The theory is that kimono merchants borrowed Sen'norikyu's name, postmortem, to create a new trend from an old shade. Indeed, most shades tinted with green during this period were dubbed with the prefix rikyu, and many new hues were consequently fashioned, such as rikyu-shiracha (greenish light brown) and rikyu-nezumi (greenish gray)."



Recommend:
- Anyone with a remotely serious interest in kimono and Japanese textiles.
- Those who collect vintage kimono, in particular.

Not Recommend:
- Someone looking for a step by step kitsuke book. This book has no kitsuke instructions (but it's still a good book to have!)
- Someone looking for a step by step style book. While you could use this book to see your mind with colour inspiration, it is not a style book in the least (but once again, it is still a good book to have!)


Page Examples and Excerpts:

French Vermilion
Image
Quote:
"Hi-iro: a strong hue of red dyed with a blend of madder and lye. This color is dyed in the same manner as the deep vermilion seen in the crest of Emperor Kotoku or the two shades of vermilion in the crest of Emperor Jito of the Asuka period (592-645). Military commanders favored this color for its striking tone, the Akazonae Corps of Takeda's Army was particularly well known for their use of French Vermilion. The difficulties of dying with madder were solved during the Edo period (1603-1867) by bottoming the material with yellow from the gardenia, then dying with raspberry red, resulting in the rich French."


Mist Green
Image
Quote:
"Yanagi-iro: a soft yellow-green, conveying the verdant hue we see between March and April when the willow tree buds appear. The nobility especially loved the flitting, fragile sight of the willow tree blowing in a spring breeze, a popular feature of many court stories such as Manyoshu and The Tale of Genji. Mist Green is often described in literature for fabrics woven with parrot green and white threads."


Cherry Pink
Image
Quote:
'Nakabeni: a vivid crimson tinted with purple, dyed in katabeni or a reduced amount of safflower dye. In Japanese, this hue is also called nakamomi, referring to the process of massaging the safflower to bring out this unique shade. Beni has been used to describe crimson hues since the Middle Ages, yet the name kurenai was appointed in ancient times. Interestingly, the shades differ within the two time periods when the Japanese prefix for "medium" (naka) is added. Naka-beni in the Middle Ages is a much more vibrant yet delicate red than naka-kurenai of ancient times."


Marine Blue
Image
Quote:
"Ai-Iro: The word ai is the standard Japanese term for the well-known indigo pigment found in stems and leaves of the indigo plant (polygonacede family.) However, this traditional indigo hue is not the renowned pure blue resulting from the single-stage dying, rather a blueish-green with a yellow tint. The pure deep blue was not called "indigo blue" until after the Edo period. In fact during the Edo period, due to the liberal use of deep indigo blue in tenugui (thin cotton hand towels) and noren (shop curtains) and in paintings by Japanese artist such as Hiroshige Utagawa, this shade became known as "Japan Blue" in many other countries."


Brick Red
Image
Quote:
"Suzume-cha: a brown with reddish-black tints, similar to the color of a sparrow's head. A well-loved bird from long ago, sparrow became an Edo-period suffix indicating a connoisseur, as in "Yoshiwara sparrow", a frequenter of the red light district. Although suzume-cha is also used for a slightly redder brown, the distinction is very vague. The dye is noted as early as the Zhou period (11th century to 256 BC) in China, yet not mentioned in Japan until the Meiji Period."


Iris
Image
Quote:
"Shobu-iro: a purple tinged with a brilliant blue, named after the petals of the iris, a plant always found by the water's edge. Iris, both the color and the flower, are also called ayame and hanashobu in Japanese. Originally, iris was produced as a double color with either a blue front and a crimson-plum back or a light green front and a deep crimson-plum back. However, this particular shade was created using the spadix found between the iris leaves. The iris color we know today was established during the second half of the Edo period."


Lemon Yellow
Image
Quote:
"Kihada: a bright yellow-green lightly tinted with blue. The pigment is taken from the inner bark of the mandarin orange tree that grows wild in the mountains. The extracted liquid is combined with lye to create a dye. Hightly valued for medicinal purposes since long ago; the extract is boiled down to create a stomach remedy called daranisuke. In addition, the extract was used since the Asuka period (592-645) to dye scrolls used for copying sutras, serving as a natural insect repellent."

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 5:44 pm 
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Jimae Geiko
Jimae Geiko

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:27 pm
Posts: 3420
Location: Columbus, GA, USA
May I suggest that these books would also be good for anyone who was learning Japanese? Afterall, with write-ups in both Japanese and English, one could go back and forth to learn vocabulary and kanji.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:31 pm 
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First Mate Boobie-san (Mod)
First Mate Boobie-san (Mod)

Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:27 am
Posts: 4749
Location: Torontoland
Fav. Motif: apples, tsujigahana
Thank you so much for posting about these. I've been eyeing the book on amazon for a while, but it wasn't available (on amazon.ca, that is). I never thought to look at amazon.co.jp, and I'm pleased to see they're at amazon.com - I might have to make an international order sometime after Christmas!

I'm glad to hear they're amazing (assuming the others are as well); that's definitely pushed them up to "highest" on my wishlist.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 8:37 pm 
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First Mate Shiba-san (Mod)
First Mate Shiba-san (Mod)

Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2006 4:44 pm
Posts: 2928
Location: Sutton Coldfield, England
Fav. Geiko: Naosuzu, Fumiyu & Miehina!
Fav. Motif: dog
I just got this book for my birthday present! I'm so thrilled to finally have it. I saw a copy in the British Museum last year and have wanted it for a while! I've only got through to red so far, but it's so fantastic. I love all the descriptions.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:29 am 
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Jimae Geiko
Jimae Geiko

Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 8:13 pm
Posts: 3951
Location: Germany
This great book is also available here (online + store):
http://www.sautter-lackmann.de/lager/titel.php?SESSID=a871161d411e661e13a497f7760d26e5&bn=600965

Sautter + Lackmann Fachbuchhandlung
Admiralitätstraße 71/72
20459 Hamburg


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:26 pm 
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Onesan
Onesan

Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:15 pm
Posts: 2879
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
what an interesting book! I'm definately going to check into these :) THanks so much for the review and snippets.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:25 am 
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Jimae Geiko
Jimae Geiko

Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2006 12:12 am
Posts: 3512
Location: UK
Great review!  This is a lovely book, so full of information.  One of my kimono mentors gave me a copy last year when I visited Japan, so obviously she thought it was an excellent kimono colour reference too!  Apart from the colour descriptions and historical information with which this booked is packed, it is a fantastic drool fest of kimono... :droolkitti: ... a visual feast. :lovelove


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:58 pm 
Maiko-san
Maiko-san

Joined: Sun Sep 17, 2006 12:49 am
Posts: 1201
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Fav. Motif: hanabi, goldfish, landscape
:drooldrool:  Excellent!! Perfect reading material, and for learning kanji too! I'll be sure to check it out! ^_^ Thanks!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:22 pm 
Maiko-san
Maiko-san

Joined: Sun Sep 17, 2006 12:49 am
Posts: 1201
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Fav. Motif: hanabi, goldfish, landscape
I walked into the bookstore this morning, and stumbled across a copy of this book, so I grabbed it and bought it straightaway! It's a little more expensive than if I bought it online (it was selling for RM148.50 = US$44.35 = £22.35)... Although I didn't count shipping costs and waiting time as factors when buying online :P

Really really excellent book! My sister's already finding use for it for her Japanese knitting books (she uses it to refer to the colours of her yarn) and I'm learning soooo much about colour coordination from it! :D Thanks Naomi-san for recommending it!! Else I would never have looked at it in the first place~~ :P


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:51 pm 
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Maiko-san
Maiko-san

Joined: Thu Nov 25, 2004 5:08 pm
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Location: Kyoto, Japan
Fav. Geiko: Umeha, Mamechiyo, Kikyu
Fav. Motif: cranes,ume, kikusui
it looks wonderful :droolbunny:
I have to buy it now, the pictures are so gorgeus.
Thank you for the review


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 Post subject: Re: :jp :eng Kimono and the Colors of Japan
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:13 pm 
Shikomi-san
Shikomi-san

Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:30 pm
Posts: 57
I just got my copy of this book in the mail last week and I really like the full color photographs and Yukioka Katsumi's academic & philosophical discussions of the Japanese color names, and the techniques in dyeing, weaving, painting & embroidering of the kimono depicted.

Where the book falls short is in its use of tiny print in the color being discussed (hard on older eyes to read some of those faint pastels against a white page or a busy kimono) and the fact that the detailed information at the back of the book of each kimono is only in Kanji.

Also this isn't a kitsuke book, but if you're interested in design and especially like vintage kimono, you'll like this book.


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 Post subject: Re: :jp :eng Kimono and the Colors of Japan
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:23 am 
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Shikomi-san
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Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:10 pm
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Location: River City (a/k/a San Antonio, TX)
Fav. Motif: kiri (paulownia); Chiba mon
Check out the other titles about the same kimono collection:
*Summer Kimono and the Colors of Japan
*Child Kimono and the Colors of Japan

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 Post subject: Re: :jp :eng Kimono and the Colors of Japan
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:19 am 
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Shikomi-san
Shikomi-san

Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:10 pm
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Location: River City (a/k/a San Antonio, TX)
Fav. Motif: kiri (paulownia); Chiba mon
In "Textile Art of Japan" by Sunny Yang and Rochelle M. Narasin (Shufunotomo Co., Ltd. 1989), there's a foreward by a professor at Kyoto University that I thought offered an interesting perspective on the entire "Colors of Japan" series. By Mitsukuni Yoshida:

"The Japanese regard color as something that changes with time rather than as an eternal, unchanging thing. The Japanese words for colors, such as sakura iro (cherrry-blossom color) and momiji iro (maple-leaf color) are broad descriptions instead of true definitions of color.

"There are many different colors of cherry blossoms, and many different shades of color in maple leaves. An extremely broad range of light pinks is called 'cherrry blossom' by the Japanese. Similarly, some seven to eight different shades of indigo are differentiated, from the lightest (kamenozoki, literally, a peek in the dye vat), to the deepest (shimbashi). And each of those shades, too, changes over time. Color is not a fixed entity but something that changes endlessly. The colors that have decorated the kimono were conceived within this view of color."

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