Folk Art Kite from Tottori Prefecture

A folk art kite

Kasuri fabric from Tottori Prefecture

Kasuri fabric

Contemporary Folk Arts of Japan at Silver Gallery

The Asian Cultural Center of Vermont (ACCVT), in association with the Tottori Prefectural Goverment and the Japan America Society of Vermont (, is hosting an exhibit of Japanese art at the C.X. Silver Gallery in West Brattleboro through January 28. "Mingei of Tottori: Contemporary Folk Arts from Tottori Prefecture, Japan" is on its second stop of a Vermont tour that has included Middlebury College and continues to UVM in Burlington in February. The folk craft (mingei) perspective honors the long -- still active -- aesthetic tradition in Japan that values the beauty of utility: everyday, handcrafted objects shine through their actual use.

Evolving over 1,100 years, Inshu papermaking uses the outer bark fibers of the kozo, ganpi, and mitsumata trees refined to a translucent and strong thinness for use in calligraphy and also as elegant, traditional yet modern, wallpaper and lamps.... Kasuri dyeing technique came to Japan from India in the mid-1800s -- the time-consuming patterns look hand-painted and require considerable precision and skill in production.... Among the folk toys displayed, traditional zodiac animals stand together in one gallery. In the gallery opposite, clay figurines remind Japanese people of folk tales shared for hundreds of years: gods of wind, and fire, and children; the Sun Goddess, the Buddha; boy heroes Kintaro and Momotaro (the latter borne out of a giant peach). Returning from Autumn woods, a woman is actually practicing the Mushroom Gathering Defense of ninjutsu used to channel chakra energy throughout the body. In a third gallery are bobble-head Dragon, Tiger and Ghost.... Also featured are Floating Hina Dolls used in Hinamatsuri, which celebrates girls and focuses on their health and prosperity: evil spirits and harm are consigned to these dolls, which are sent floating away down a river. In the front window, the colorful parasol symbolizing Tottori "watches over" traditional kites.... A short film on the Tottori exhibit is planned, plus coverage by BCTV

Joining the temporary display is an ongoing exhibit of rare fabric collage pictures, kiri-e, on long-term loan from Phyllis Rodin. They were created by young women survivors from the 1940s in Hiroshima Prefecture, which borders its counterpart, Tottori. The gallery is preparing a monograph on the kiri-e.

C.X. Silver Gallery is open daily by appointment or chance; calling ahead is recommended. For more information, call ACCVT executive director Adam Silver at (802) 257-7898, ext. 1.

Copyright 2011, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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