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Bibliography, clothing, and persona

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  • karl.j.jacobs@jci.com
    Greetings to all! The creation of a bibliography for the study of things Japanese sounds like a wonderful idea! Hopefully, my pc at home will be repaired soon
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 7, 2000
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      Greetings to all!

      The creation of a bibliography for the study of things Japanese sounds like
      a wonderful idea! Hopefully, my pc at home will be repaired soon so that
      I might start on my contribution to such an effort.

      I found Secrets of the Samurai to be somewhat confusing and questionable as
      well, but it contained information on police, pirates, and militant clergy
      that I'd not found anywhere else, so I kept my copy.

      Has anyone else had a hard time limiting themselves to a particular slice
      of time for their persona? I'm finding that my interests are split between
      early
      Ashikaga period and late Momoyama period. I like the clothing and armor of
      the Momoyama period, but prefer Ashikaga period when looking at the
      events of the time period.

      Brocades? Oh yes, I've been bitten by that bug already. I've not sewn
      anything yet, but I've purchased a couple of partial bolts of the nicer
      ones I can occasionally find at JoAnn's or Hancock Fabrics. There was a
      wonderful dragon brocade that I wanted - it was available in red or white,
      but I didn't have the money for it at the time. I was hoping to get enough
      to make a squire's obi and Master's sash or knight's obi, should my efforts
      in those directions ever become fruitful. What are nishiki brocades and aya
      gauze?

      What are styles to look for or avoid in brocades? How can the unscholarly
      decide if the brocade is close enough to period? Avoiding metallic threads
      would be a start, I assume. I have some idea of designs from books on mon
      and Japanese or Chinese design motifs. I assume that avoiding
      modern-looking patterns is a good idea, but that seems to be an issue with
      the printed cotton fabrics more than with the brocades. Are there
      particular designs that would be avoided by a male?

      I have yet to make the trip to Nordskogen (Minneapolis) to the warehouse
      store where Felix Needleworthy and other professionals pruchase their
      material. I also have yet to do the research to find where good stores are
      in Chicago, which is just a few hours away. I have had it suggested to me
      to visit the fabric stores in the theatre district. I also remember some
      stores in Chicago being mentioned in the few books on Japanese calligraphy
      and interior decorating that I have. Any suggestions?

      I find myself in another quandry regarding garb and persona. My original
      idea was to take a sohei persona, but I could not find enough material for
      me to be comfortable in selecting a monastic name, so I selected a
      bushi-style name instead with the idea of being a younger son who is
      attracted to monastic life, but who has too much interest in things martial
      and too much of an unsettled spirit to become a monk, but who found kindred
      spirits among the sohei, even if they were a rough-and-tumble lot. My
      difficulty is in the limited availability of information on militant
      monastics, so I seem to keep getting called by my family to take care of
      responsibilities away from the temples.

      I would like to do monastic garb, but have not found much information on
      that, particularly on garb appropriate for sohei. The illustrations in
      Turnbull's books seem to be at odds with other descriptions - the density
      of weave, weight of fabric, and whether or not there should be this strange
      ruffle on the bottom of the outer garment. There was some discussion of
      monastic garb on the other list, but no sources cited for me to take a look
      at the material for myself.

      I have found one illustration in a book on screen paintings and an
      illustration in one of Turnbull's books which shows monks in garments that
      are white instead of black. Instead of the wide sleeves of the black
      overgarments, these have very wide collars - a style that I have not seen
      before. Does anyone have more information? I can look up the specific
      illustrations tonight, if anyone is interested.

      Unfortunately, I will not be attending Pennsic this year after all due to
      mundane concerns. *sigh* Perhaps next year.


      Kou no Toshikage
    • Kass McGann
      Dear Kou-dono, I will endevour to answer the part of your enquiry that falls within my area of knowledge. ... sewn ... nicer ... was a ... white, ... get
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 7, 2000
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        Dear Kou-dono,

        I will endevour to answer the part of your enquiry that falls within
        my area of knowledge.

        > Brocades? Oh yes, I've been bitten by that bug already. I've not
        sewn
        > anything yet, but I've purchased a couple of partial bolts of the
        nicer
        > ones I can occasionally find at JoAnn's or Hancock Fabrics. There
        was a
        > wonderful dragon brocade that I wanted - it was available in red or
        white,
        > but I didn't have the money for it at the time. I was hoping to
        get enough
        > to make a squire's obi and Master's sash or knight's obi, should my
        efforts
        > in those directions ever become fruitful.

        If you are thinking of making modern style brocade obi to signify
        your Master or Knight by colour or your squirehood by the same, I
        would discourage you from doing so. The Japanese system of ranks as
        signified by belt colour is a modern thing and I would not like to
        see it encouraged among Japanese personae in our Society. Matter of
        fact, recently someone asked Hiraizumi-dono to justify the wearing of
        white brocade sashes a la Shogun and he said that he could not.
        There are better alternatives...

        I am apprenticed and proteged to my Master and I wear a kumihimo
        braid of yellow, green, blue and white. Yellow for my protegehood,
        green for my apprenticeship, and blue and white for my Master's
        colours. This would be a much better decision than a brocade obi.

        Another idea is to wear a western belt like other squires. After
        all, Corporate does insist that we are in a Western European land...
        Of course, you wouldn't catch *me* wearing leather... ;)

        > What are nishiki brocades and aya
        > gauze?

        Okay, I may get a little technical on you. If I go too far, just
        ignore me. Aya is a warp-patterned silk gauze (that refers to the
        technique by which it's woven) that has been popular in court garb
        since at least the Nara period. Many of the textiles in the 7th and
        8th century depositories of Shoso-in and Horuji are made from aya.
        Somtimes the aya is plain and sometimes it has little designs woven
        in.

        Nishiki brocade is a type of brocade woven in the nishiki district of
        Heian-kyo (modern-day Kyoto). While aya tends to be monchromatic,
        the threads of nishiki can be mutlicoloured. You can see some
        examples of nishiki brocade here: http://www.yusoku.com/koaoi.html

        The quick and dirty is that in the Japanese world of heirarchy,
        everything was regulated. Aya and kara aya ("Chinese aya") were
        weaves allowed to nobles of certain rank on certain ocassions.
        Lesser nobles would have to wear plain silk. Nishiki brocade is even
        more difficult to make, so therefore, only higher ranking nobles were
        allowed to wear it. Generally, if you were allowed to wear nishiki
        at all, the colour would still be restricted by your rank, and you
        would probably only wear it as your outer layer (so all the world
        would see!).

        Personally, I wear either plain silk or an approximation of aya for
        my underdresses and a brocade over robe. Recently, I was given
        permission by the Crown to wear the forbidden colour, kurenai (red)
        so I am having a red nishiki overrobe made. My old overrobe may have
        been of the same dragon brocade of which you speak. Mine was green.

        > What are styles to look for or avoid in brocades? How can the
        unscholarly
        > decide if the brocade is close enough to period?

        Look at period illustrations (NOT Shogun and not 19th century works)
        and see if the brocade looks like the pictures...

        > Avoiding metallic threads
        > would be a start, I assume.

        Not so. Many period outerrobes had gold thread woven into them. But
        use your own judgement. If it looks cheesey, avoid it.

        > I have some idea of designs from books on mon
        > and Japanese or Chinese design motifs.

        Remember that the five-crest or three-crest mon design on kimono is
        relatively recent. But wearing fabric with a mon printed all over it
        dates to the Kamakura period (12th century).

        I try to avoid Chinese designs because they are so different from
        Japanese ones. But sometimes we have no choice. Recently, I found
        beautiful silk brocade with gold Chinese luck roundels all over it.
        It is not a Japanese design, but the Japanese used a similar design
        with gold mon. Unfortunately, they didn't have enough yardage for my
        needs...

        > I assume that avoiding
        > modern-looking patterns is a good idea, but that seems to be an
        issue with
        > the printed cotton fabrics more than with the brocades.

        Well, a good rule is to check period illustrations first and see if
        anything similar was worn by someone of your time period, class, and
        station.

        > Are there
        > particular designs that would be avoided by a male?

        Well, I can't think of anything off the top of my head. Again, look
        in books of period scrolls and portraits and see what they are
        wearing. And avoid red hakama. They're "girly pants"! ;)

        > I would like to do monastic garb, but have not found much
        information on
        > that, particularly on garb appropriate for sohei. The
        illustrations in
        > Turnbull's books seem to be at odds with other descriptions - the
        density
        > of weave, weight of fabric, and whether or not there should be this
        strange
        > ruffle on the bottom of the outer garment. There was some
        discussion of
        > monastic garb on the other list, but no sources cited for me to
        take a look
        > at the material for myself.

        I would suggest that you email the other list and address Matsuyamagi
        no Mokurai-dono. He is also a sohei persona and he has lovely garb.
        His Lady makes most of it for him by copying period illustrations I
        believe. I will also make sure to suggest to Hiraizumi-dono that he
        include monastic garb in the upcoming CA...

        > Unfortunately, I will not be attending Pennsic this year after all
        due to
        > mundane concerns. *sigh* Perhaps next year.

        That is unfortunate, but we look forward to meeting you next year
        then.

        Your servant,
        Aoi
      • Barbara Nostrand
        Noble Cousins! ... Ultimately, the only way to have a decent chance for success is to find a reliable reference that has dated pictures. If you have looked at
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 7, 2000
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          Noble Cousins!

          > What are styles to look for or avoid in brocades? How can the unscholarly
          >decide if the brocade is close enough to period? Avoiding metallic threads
          >would be a start, I assume. I have some idea of designs from books on mon
          >and Japanese or Chinese design motifs. I assume that avoiding
          >modern-looking patterns is a good idea, but that seems to be an issue with
          >the printed cotton fabrics more than with the brocades. Are there
          >particular designs that would be avoided by a male?

          Ultimately, the only way to have a decent chance for success is to find
          a reliable reference that has dated pictures. If you have looked at this
          stuff enough, you have a decent chance of spotting it at fabric stores.
          I once bought some upholstry fabric at a Boston fabric store with the
          belief that the pattern looked familiar. I took it home with me and
          thumbed through my massive tea dictionary and found the pattern. It
          was there, and was pre 1600. Some of these patterns MAY look fairly
          modern to Americans.

          >I have yet to make the trip to Nordskogen (Minneapolis) to the warehouse
          >store where Felix Needleworthy and other professionals pruchase their
          >material. I also have yet to do the research to find where good stores are
          >in Chicago, which is just a few hours away. I have had it suggested to me
          >to visit the fabric stores in the theatre district. I also remember some
          >stores in Chicago being mentioned in the few books on Japanese calligraphy
          >and interior decorating that I have. Any suggestions?

          Incidentally, how is Nordskogen? St. Paul is one of the cities where I
          currently have a job offer.

          >I find myself in another quandry regarding garb and persona. My original
          >idea was to take a sohei persona, but I could not find enough material for
          >me to be comfortable in selecting a monastic name, so I selected a
          >bushi-style name instead with the idea of being a younger son who is
          >attracted to monastic life, but who has too much interest in things martial
          >and too much of an unsettled spirit to become a monk, but who found kindred
          >spirits among the sohei, even if they were a rough-and-tumble lot. My
          >difficulty is in the limited availability of information on militant
          >monastics, so I seem to keep getting called by my family to take care of
          >responsibilities away from the temples.

          Err. As I recall, the militant monastics generally dressed as monastics
          and descended on Heiankyou on a regular basis waving their naginata unto
          Nobonaga or some such burned their mountain and basically slaughtered
          them. You are probably much better off being a young bushi who is interested
          in studying zen and other subjects found without actually entering orders.
          Baron Edward probably has a lot to say about these subjects.

          >I would like to do monastic garb, but have not found much information on
          >that, particularly on garb appropriate for sohei. The illustrations in
          >Turnbull's books seem to be at odds with other descriptions - the density
          >of weave, weight of fabric, and whether or not there should be this strange
          >ruffle on the bottom of the outer garment. There was some discussion of
          >monastic garb on the other list, but no sources cited for me to take a look
          >at the material for myself.

          Actually, there are quite a few period illustrations of these costumes.
          Also, I would guess that their construction is covered in the great
          Japanese book of patterns of which Baron Edward has a copy.

          Your Humble Servant
          Solveig Throndardottir
          Amateur Scholar

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          | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM |
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        • Barbara Nostrand
          Noble Cousins! I m afraid that I can not resist as this discussion appears to be just too much fun. ... I agree. There does not appear to be any period
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 7, 2000
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            Noble Cousins!

            I'm afraid that I can not resist as this discussion appears to be just
            too much fun.

            >If you are thinking of making modern style brocade obi to signify
            >your Master or Knight by colour or your squirehood by the same, I
            >would discourage you from doing so. The Japanese system of ranks as
            >signified by belt colour is a modern thing and I would not like to
            >see it encouraged among Japanese personae in our Society.

            I agree. There does not appear to be any period precident for belt
            ranks. There is lots of period precident for rank specific colour
            usage especially in the imperial court and in various Buddhist
            monasteries. For example, high ranking buddhist monks wear very
            large kessa in colours such as purple and green which indicate
            their lofty rank.

            The ancient imperial court established a system of coloured robes
            and distinctive caps. If you look in a variety of references, you
            will discover that a particular shade of brown might be the province
            of the kampaku and another colour might be the province of the
            prime minister. These colours might be best displayed as over robes.
            Low ranking ministers would generally wear black over robes.

            >Matter of
            >fact, recently someone asked Hiraizumi-dono to justify the wearing of
            >white brocade sashes a la Shogun and he said that he could not.
            >There are better alternatives...

            White sashes?? I have mercifully forgotten much of Clavel's stuff.

            >I am apprenticed and proteged to my Master and I wear a kumihimo
            >braid of yellow, green, blue and white. Yellow for my protegehood,
            >green for my apprenticeship, and blue and white for my Master's
            >colours. This would be a much better decision than a brocade obi.

            Properly used kumihimo are a great idea especially when applied
            as ties to formal robes or hats. Remember though that hats themselves
            have specific import. Now for some real (at least late period) Japanese
            feudal clothing use. The master should present at the time of vassalage
            and annually at new year clothing or at least the cloth for that clothing.
            This cloth should ideally express both the rank of the vassal and the
            identity of the lord. A great honour would be to allow your vassal to
            wear cloth with a brocade pattern of the master's kamon. In fact, one
            of the final certificates granted by Sen Hounsai to Urasenke students
            is permission to bear the family kamon. (Granted that Urasenke is
            post period, but it does express the idea and this business about
            clothing vassals does go back.)

            >Remember that the five-crest or three-crest mon design on kimono is
            >relatively recent. But wearing fabric with a mon printed all over it
            >dates to the Kamakura period (12th century).

            Older patterns tended to quite large and covered the entire expanse
            of cloth. Modern kamon are actually applied after the cloth is woven
            and has been delivered to the kimono maker.

            >I try to avoid Chinese designs because they are so different from
            >Japanese ones. But sometimes we have no choice. Recently, I found
            >beautiful silk brocade with gold Chinese luck roundels all over it.
            >It is not a Japanese design, but the Japanese used a similar design
            >with gold mon. Unfortunately, they didn't have enough yardage for my
            >needs...

            Japanese were not necessarily adverse to wearing Chinese cloth.
            you might easily wear Chinese cloth for under garments of various
            sort or use them for linings or as the base for some overgarment.
            The problem with the Chinese luck roundels is that they simply
            do not express corporate identity the way that a proper Japanese
            kamon does. Further, there were various anti-Chinese periods
            during Japanese history when Chinese panterns would simply not
            be very popular.

            Your Humble Servant
            Solveig Throndardottir
            Amateur Scholar

            +---------------------------------------------------------------------+
            | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM |
            | de Moivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
            | mailto:nostrand@... | mailto:bnostran@... |
            +---------------------------------------------------------------------+
            | Ignored domains: bestbiz.net, pop.net, hotmail.com, aibusiness.com |
            | vdi.net, usa.net, tpnet.pl, myremarq.com |
            | netscape.net, excite.com, bigfoot.com, public.com |
            | com.tw, eranet.net, yahoo.com, success.net |
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          • markejag@aol.com
            In a message dated 6/7/00 3:22:07 PM Eastern Daylight Time, nostrand@bradley.edu writes: Short
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 8, 2000
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              In a message dated 6/7/00 3:22:07 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
              nostrand@... writes:

              << Avoiding metallic threads would be a start, I assume. >>
              Short interjection and additions to previous conversation.....

              Look carefully at the illuminations, some of them are plain silk, of various
              thickness and weaves and have the gold couched on the fabric with the
              'brocade' patterns embroidered all over.
              I am sure Aoi and Hiraizumi have reliable sources of pictures to look at. I
              have noticed that the brocade patterns Aoi spoke of (
              www.yusoku.com/koaoi.html - the kikko or tortoise shell pattern) can also be
              traced to the Heian period as an example of complete covering, overall
              embroidered.

              Fumio
            • Kass McGann
              ... of various ... the ... look at. I ... can also be ... overall ... Well, it s not embroidered but rather the metalic threads were brocaded into the
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 8, 2000
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                > Look carefully at the illuminations, some of them are plain silk,
                of various
                > thickness and weaves and have the gold couched on the fabric with
                the
                > 'brocade' patterns embroidered all over.
                > I am sure Aoi and Hiraizumi have reliable sources of pictures to
                look at. I
                > have noticed that the brocade patterns Aoi spoke of (
                > www.yusoku.com/koaoi.html - the kikko or tortoise shell pattern)
                can also be
                > traced to the Heian period as an example of complete covering,
                overall
                > embroidered.
                >
                > Fumio

                Well, it's not "embroidered" but rather the metalic threads were
                brocaded into the fabric when it was woven, but you have the right
                idea. Metallic threads ARE NOT taboo...
                Aoi
              • Marc Choronzey
                Konichiwa All, I Agree, my persona comes and goes between late Heian and Muromachi periods... Is there a concensus on what period is the easier to respect or
                Message 7 of 7 , Jun 10, 2000
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                  Konichiwa All,

                  I Agree, my persona comes and goes between late Heian and Muromachi
                  periods...

                  Is there a concensus on what period is the easier to respect or is the most
                  popular?

                  Domo,

                  Sayonara.
                  ---------------------------------------------------------
                  "A man who judges others but not himself judges badly..."

                  Hebikage Shimaha
                  (Marc Choronzey)
                  514-388-1790


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