Kimono As Art: The Landscapes of Itchiku Kubota

February 9 - April 26, 2009


Ohn, Mount Fuji seriesInternationally acclaimed artist Itchiku Kubota used silk kimono as his canvas. Kubota had a lifelong fascination with the subtle changes of color and the quality of light achieved through skillful dyeing techniques combined with the reflective properties of silk. He often used nature as the inspiration for his work.

This stunning exhibition of forty over-sized landscape kimono is visiting the United States for only the second time, since its 1995 exhibition at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

Itchiku Kubota’s dream was to live to be 100, the time it would take for him to complete a series of 75 kimono that would hang side-by-side, forming a monumental tapestry of the four seasons called Symphony of Light. He completed 30 of these pieces, Autumn and Winter, before his death on April 26, 2003.


Kougaki, Symphony of Light

Itchiku Kubota

Itchiku Kubota was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1917. He learned the art of dyeing as an apprentice at age 14. At age 20 Kubota visited the Tokyo National Museum, where he found inspiration in a 350-year old textile silk remnant of the long lost art of tsujigahana (Tsu-jee-ga-ha-na). “In a sudden moment” he said, “I encountered a source of boundless creativity which revealed to me my calling.” World War II intervened and Kubota was taken prisoner and put in a Siberian prisoner-of-war camp. Upon his release in 1951, he devoted himself to finding the secret behind this extraordinary technique. It wasn’t until 1977, when he was 60 years old, that he finally succeeded in his quest and developed his own method, which he called Itchiku Tsujigahana. Kubota used a complex process of layering dyes, inks and embroidery, on eight-foot-tall kimono. A single kimono could take as much as one year to complete.


Exhibit Sponsors


Ichi Level

Timken Foundation of Canton
The Timken Company

Ni Level

Allen Schulman & Associates
Fred Olivieri Construction Company
Hammond Construction, Inc.
PPI Graphics
Sandy’s LandscapingShuuga by Itchiku Kubota

San Level

Fuji Machine Mfg. Co., Ltd.
Mrs. Herbert Markley
NKC- Nakanishi Metals Works Co., Ltd
Seibu Jido Kiki Co., Ltd.
Time Warner Cable

Shi Level

Daido Steel

Go Level

Kotani Corporation
Kuribayashi Seisakusyo
Louisville Forge and Gears
Mizuho Co., Ltd.
Nissin Machine Works, Ltd.
Showa Seiko Co., Ltd.
The University of Akron
Toyo Advanced Technologies Co., Ltd.
Toyota Tsusho
Yagi Industries Co., Ltd.

Masukomi Sponsors

News Channel 5
Time Warner Cable
The Repository
Ohio Magazine
The Karcher Group
Western Reserve Public Media
89.7 WKSU

With the Support of:

Ohio Arts Council
National Endowment for the Arts