The Khalili Collection of Kimono (1700 – 2000)

Two Japanese Kimonos from The Khalili Collections, ©Khalili Collections

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The Khalili Collection of kimono comprises more than 450 garments and spans three hundred years of Japanese textile artistry. It is one of the world’s most outstanding private collections of traditional Japanese kimono. The form of the T-shaped, straight-seamed, front- wrapping kimono has changed very little over the centuries, yet the Collection reveals an astonishing variety of designs. In Japanese dress it is the surface decoration, not the cut and construction, that is important and indications of gender, age, status, wealth and taste are expressed through the choice of colour and pattern.

Summer Kimono for a Woman (Katabira), KX 149, Japan,1820-1850, asa, plain weave, 167 x 118 cm. Motif: Landscape with fishing nets, thatched entrance with roped curtain, nobleman’s cart and dropped hats, ©Khalili Collections.

Outer Kimono for a Young Woman (Uchikake), KX 154, Japan, 1840-1870, silk crepe (chirimen), 152.5 x 124 cm. Motif: Landscape with bridge, pavilions and thatched huts, ©Khalili Collections.

In the Khalili collection are represented the sophisticated garments of the Edo period (1603–1868); the shifting styles and new colour palette of Meiji (1868–1912); and the bold and dazzling kimono of the Taisho (1912–26) and early Showa (1926–89), ©Khalili Collections.

Kimono for a Young Woman (Furisode),K 106, Japan, 1912-1926, silk crepe (chirimen); freehand paste-resist dyed (yūzen), embroidered in silk and metallic threads with applied gold and silver, 161.5 x 128 cm. Motif: Boat filled with flowers on swirling water, pine tree, plum blossoms and maples, ©Khalili Collections

Underkimono for a man (juban), KX 230, Fabric below the waist, overlap, collar and sleeve ends: Coromandel Coast, India Fabric above the waist: Japan, 1800-1850, 135 × 135.5 cm. Motif: flowers, flames and stripes, ©Khalili Collections.

Kimono for a Woman, K 47, Japan, 1930-1940, machine-spun pongee silk (meisen), plain weave; stencil-printed warp and weft threads (heiyo-gasuri), 141.5 x 122 cm. Motif: Skyscraper and city lights, ©Khalili Collections

Kimono for an Infant Boy (Miyamairi), K 107, Japan, 1920-1940 silk, horizontal gauze weave (ro); freehand paste-resist dyed (yūzen) and hand-painted, 90 x 86 cm. Motif: Carp among water reeds, ©Khalili Collections.

About Khalili Collections

Professor Nasser D. Khalili PhD KSS KCSS is a world-renowned scholar, collector and philanthropist, who has often been called the ‘cultural ambassador of Islam’ by Muslim leaders worldwide.

He was born in Iran in 1945, and after completing his schooling and national service there, moved to the United States in 1967, where he continued his education. He graduated in 1974 from Queens College, City University of New York, with a BA degree in Computer Science. Thereafter, in 1978 he moved to the United Kingdom, where he completed his PhD on Islamic Lacquer from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, in 1988.

Since 1970, Professor Khalili has assembled, under the auspices of The Khalili Family Trust, eight of the world’s finest and most comprehensive art collections in their field: Islamic Art (700–2000); Hajj and the Arts of Pilgrimage (700–2000); Aramaic Documents (353–324 bc); Japanese Art of the Meiji Period (1868–1912); Japanese Kimono (1700– 2000); Swedish Textiles (1700–1900); Spanish Damascene Metalwork (1850–1900); and Enamels of the World (1700–2000). Together, these eight collections comprise some 35,000 works, and each collection is on its own merit the largest and most comprehensive in the world.

Swedish Textiles, Carriage Cushion Cover (Vases of Flowers with People), SW 27, Sweden, Scania, Torna district, late 18th century, dove-tail, tapestry, 47 x 97 cm

Two Japanese Kimonos from The Khalili Collections, ©Khalili Collections

These eight collections have been shown in more than 44 major museums worldwide. Furthermore, the Khalili Collections have been major contributors to more than 70 international exhibitions, such as the British Museum, London (1994), the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (1997), Somerset House, London (2004), the Alhambra Palace, Granada (2001), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2003,  the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (2006), among many others. Also, The Arts of Islam. Treasures from the Nasser D. Khalili Collection was shown in 2007 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, in 2008 at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, in 2009 at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, and in 2010 at De Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam, at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg and at the Kremlin Museums, Moscow.

Two Japanese Kimonos from The Khalili Collections, ©Khalili Collections

In addition to his cultural and educational interests, Professor Khalili is also a leading voice in the global movement to advance mutual respect and understanding among the nations of the world.

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