The development and final adoption of the kosode is related not only to the development of native Japanese domestic architecture but also to leisure activities. Like steppingstones which meander through a garden to invite leisurely, but controlled, walking and to stimulate contemplation of nature's beauty, the kosode, impractical for work or hurried activity, was eminently suitable for thoughtful strolling or for the wearer to sit on his knees. Although all classes wore kosode as a principal outer garment by the end of the fifteenth century, it must be acknowledged that such highly decorated robes as those in this exhibition were reserved for the court and attendants, people at leisure, or special occasions...
Kimono academies have been established in the past two decades which teach women the art of wearing the kimono, not simply how to put on a kimono but how to reflect the spirit that is an aspect of wearing the kimono: "in the manner and movements appropriate to the one who wears it and in the sensitivity to life and nature the kimono fosters."
From Robes of Elegance, Japanese Kimonos of the 16th-20th Centuries,
by Ishimura Hayao and Maruyama Nobuhiko,
from the introduction by Richard S. Schneiderman. 1988.
I've not been to mass, but my thoughts have been with the season. I peek into the doors of churches when they are open. I bless myself in the street.
In celebration of Holy Week, I offer the following selection from The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion by Leo Steinberg:
( Roger van der Weyden's Crucifixion... )
As a compositional artifice, this banner loincloth is an inspired invention. It resolves a pictorial problem posed by conventional Crucifixion designs - the problem of vacant flanks in the middle zone of the field between crossbeam and horizon. By means of a gorgeous flutter flaring forth from the center, the blanks are repleted and animated; and so felicitous is the solution that its aptness on grounds other than formal has never been challenged. No one has questioned the wisdom of making such pageantry of a breechcloth; or grudged its turbulence as a wind gauge where no breath is stirring; nor its plausibility in a narrative that calls for the least covering of a victim whose garments are the coveted loot of his executioners.
The full deployment of this invention, as of so many, appears to be due to Roger van der Weyden (Campin perhaps cooperating...). In several of Roger's Crucifixions, the spare aprons of the earlier masters unfurl into flying banners, buoyed up by an indwelling breeze where all else is becalmed. By 1500, these streamers winging the sacred loins glorify most German crucifixes... - often over-abundantly, as if less were lèse majesté. Yet, ostensibly, still a loincloth. Only the inherent metaphoricity of Renaissance realism could exalt this humblest of garments to such efflorescence, and convert the ostentatio genitalium decently into a fanfare of cosmic triumph.
Christ, dying, graced us with innumerable examples. The sartorial lesson, though it may be least among them, still should not be forgotten. What you wear matters less than the manner in which you wear it. I like frivolous morals, and I would count this among them if the churches themselves did not seem to remember it. Altars are stripped bare on Holy Saturday. When they are revealed in their naked sorrow, the most inspired and elaborate of altar cloths are made to seem guilty of obscuring holy stone.
My family graduation party is today. I adore my small family and my chosen families, but my big family gets drunk and they all say terrible things to one another. They are lovely people, and interesting people, but I dislike having panic attacks. So, I must admit, I hope that they give me lots of money for my accomplishments, please. Either way, the food will really be too good. I'm not at all sure how my mother was able to afford this.
There are things I want so badly to show you, but I don't have a camera. I've never shown you my tattoo, and there are lots of new piercings in the house and will be more quite shortly. My bedroom is the best place in the world, and in it there is a brand new painting of Tilda Swinton. Her hair is the same colour as the fall, and in it she has branches for antlers. When I haven't anywhere to go, I wake up in the morning and stay in bed, staring. Her eyes are charmed. She stares back. The print was made and given to me by Daena M. Ortego, a maskmaker and artist and goblin friend of mine who lives near New Orleans. You should go and buy everything she has ever made, and want for more.
There are things I need to learn. People speak of hell fondly. I think of the old restaurant in Montmartre, but I am not so clever or as bold as some of you. I need to work and to pay off what I owe, yes, but I need to ruin and make some things whilst I do it.
Yesterday was busy. I worked, and I sanded down a nice trash picked dresser I'll paint and sell, and I worked on something that may, at some point, be art.
I have a mohawk that I never spike. It flops to the left, shorter at the back but often in my eyes at the front, only just long enough to tuck behind my ear, now. I'm done with it. It is hot outside, and I want simplicity. I always want to cut something off of me. I'm back to being a monk, a monk planning for hell.