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Diligence and Elegance: The Nature of Japanese Textiles


Wed, Jul 12, 2017 — Sun, Jan 21, 2018




Admission Fee

Location Accessible

Textile Museum of Canada

55 Centre Avenue, Toronto, ON


Lecture: The Ikat Robozo from Mexic, Wed, Jan 17, 6:30-8:30pm
Gallery Tour: A Special Evening Marta Turok, Thu, Jan 18, 6-7:30pm

Daily Hours


11:00 am

5:00 pm


11:00 am

5:00 pm


11:00 am

8:00 pm


11:00 am

5:00 pm


11:00 am

5:00 pm


11:00 am

5:00 pm


11:00 am

5:00 pm


Diligence and Elegance: The Nature of Japanese Textiles presents over 50 textiles and garments from the Textile Museum of Canada’s collection of 19th and 20th century artifacts made in Japan for both everyday and occasional use.

Luxurious silk and gold fabrics produced in Kyoto’s professional weaving workshops are juxtaposed with domestic indigo-dyed cotton, plant-fibre cloth, and silk kimonos crafted in an astonishing spectrum of time-honoured techniques – weaving, dyeing, hand painting, gold foil application and embroidery – that exemplify venerable social and cultural values.

The exhibition focuses on the highly refined skills and materials by which textiles have been constructed and decorated over centuries, and on how diligence and ingenuity have shaped their timeless beauty. The persistence of traditions seen in such rigorously executed textiles has come to embody the heart of Japanese aesthetics. Every material, colour and technique has a story to tell.

Diligence and Elegance features the contemporary work of Hiroko Karuno and Keiko Shintani, two Japanese-Canadians whose consummate craftsmanship and philosophies are profoundly connected to the evolution of Japanese textile traditions of spinning, dyeing and weaving. Their internationally renowned artistic achievements are testimony to the ethics of labour associated with a lifelong investment of time, practice and precision; they position living traditions as opportunities for personal reflection and the acknowledgement of the significance of collective human accomplishments.

The exhibition will also feature videos provided courtesy of the Japan Foundation, Toronto; the Kyoto Shibori Museum; the Japan Science and Technology Agency; and the The Association for the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries in Japan.

Diligence and Elegance: The Nature of Japanese Textiles is made possible through the lead sponsorship of the William R. and Shirley Beatty Charitable Foundation.

Lecture: From Uncertain Origins to Uncertain Futures: The Ikat Rebozo from Mexico
Wednesday, January 17, 2018 | 6:30 pm
Marta Turok will share her specialized knowledge of the distinctive rebozo, a women’s rectangular shawl worn throughout Mexico. Turok will trace the evolution of this iconic textile, provide insight into the meticulous process of making one, and consider the impact of recent government and grassroots initiatives on rebozo artisans and markets.

Tickets $20, TMC Members $15, Students $12*

Gallery Tour: A Special Evening with Marta Turok
Thursday, January 18, 6-7:30 pm
Join Marta Turok in the gallery for an intimate tour of the exhibition, animated with her first-hand stories and insights shaped over a 40-year career in research and advocacy for the artistic and cultural value of Mexican textiles.

Tickets $25, TMC Members $20, Students $10*

Image Credits:
Thumbnail/Cover: Unmarried young woman’s formal kimono (furisode), detail. Early to mid-20th century, Gift of Nina St. Michael, T2012.9.1
Additional Image 1: Hiroko Karuno, Natural/Plain, 2010 (detail). Japanese handmade paper, Handspun and handwoven. Collection of the artist. Photo: Makoto Yano
Additional Image 2: Material for bedding (futonji). Mid-19th century, Anonymous gift, T84.0001
Additional Image 3: Woman’s formal jacket (haori). Early 20th century, Gift of Suzanne Vaughters McClennan, T2008.19.1
Additional Image 4: Keiko Shintani, Scarf, 2005–2013. Silk, Weft ikat, plain woven. Collection of the artist

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Hiroko Karuno, Keiko Shintani, Natalia Nekrassova