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The Kumihimo: Japanese Silk Braiding exhibition opens at Japan House London
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The Kumihimo: Japanese Silk Braiding exhibition opens at Japan House London

Japan House London is presenting the UK’s first major exhibition of Japanese silk braiding from 23rd Feb 2023 to 11th June 2023. The ‘KUMIHIMO: Japanese Silk Braiding by Domyo’ exhibition will explore this ancient yet contemporary Japanese art, sharing its fascinating 1300-year history, while simultaneously considering its current-day applications.

Translating as ‘joining threads together’, Kumihimo is made by expert craftspeople who combine up to 140 hand-dyed threads (usually made of silk), to create intricate patterns and vivid colours. The craft has been used throughout Japanese history for everything from Samurai armour to adding the finishing touches to kimono. And it is still being used today in modern fashion – both formal and contemporary styles – as well as in fine art, science and engineering.

The exhibition in London is produced by Yusoku Kumihimo Dōmyō (Domyo), a company located in the old shopping and entertainment district of Ueno in central Tokyo, which has been making braided silk cords by hand since 1652. Visitors will be presented with floor-to-ceiling installations, absorbing videos, presentations of tools and processes, as well as more than 50 different examples of the braids themselves, imaginatively displayed throughout the gallery. These include cords made using historical designs, the originals of which are held in Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines and are rarely, if ever, publicly displayed.

Much of the detail in individual kumihimo braids are fine and easy to miss. However, the exhibition invites visitors to get up close and really study the delicate complexity and beauty of the pieces through the enlarged braiding frames on display. Furthermore, the displays are complemented by a rich programme of events, including hands-on workshops which allow guests to try making kumihimo themselves.

Written by Lupe Castro

Photography courtesy of Japan House London

#japanhouselondon #kensington #silkbraiding

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