Black Ships and White Cats

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Image courtesy of the Chinese Museum from the exhibition Han Dynasty, Life Everlasting. Private collection, Melbourne

Black Ships and White Cats

Historical Influence on Japanese Kimono Design from the Edo Period Onwards

The story of how Japan changed from a closed feudal society during its Edo Period (1603 -1867) to a modern nation in the present day can be read not only in the pages of history, but also from the designs on that most iconic garment, the kimono. Illustrated with examples from the speaker’s collection this presentation will examine how momentous events such as the arrival of Commodore Perry’s American “black ships” and WWII influenced its design.

After gaining a science-based bachelor’s degree in London, Fiona Cole trained as a management accountant for a Japanese bank. Subsequent postings in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore allowed for a wide variety of cultural experiences and opportunities for continued study of the region,which has included a Diploma of Jewellery Design at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore. Whilst living in Bangkok she was a member of the National Museum Volunteers and became increasingly interested in textiles. When she relocated to Tokyo for a second time, she began to focus on collecting Japanese textiles and enrolled in kitsuke or kimono dressing classes. Soon after moving to Singapore in 2003, she joined the new Textile Enthusiast Group under the banner of the Friends of the Museums and has enjoyed sharing her collection and knowledge with members through various presentations.

Light refreshments will be served.

How to Pay: Cash at the door.


Walking Directions

From Circular Quay
Walk to George Street , The Rocks. Turn left into Argyle Street and walk under the famous Argyle Cut to climb the stairs opposite the Garrison Church. Turn left at the top of the stairs and follow Watson Road past the Sydney Observatory to the National Trust Centre.

From Kent Street
Follow the historic Agar Steps (opposite the Observatory Hotel) up to the National Trust Centre.

From Wynyard and the city
At No. 1 York Street walk through the expressway underpass. Follow the tunnel, keeping to the right, until you come up on Kent Street . Walk along Kent Street to the Agar Steps, or follow the approach to the Bridge, which will take you past the National Trust Centre on your left.

Driving directions (free parking is available on-site)

Drive down Kent Street , right into Argyle Street , right again into Watson Road and follow it around past the Sydney Observatory to the National Trust Centre. Free Parking is available on site.

Public Transport directions

Bus: Routes 311, 324, and 325 terminate at Argyle Street . Walk up Watson Road, Observatory Hill and follow the signs.

Train: to Wynyard or Circular Quay

Ferry: to Circular Quay and proceed as above.



13 September, 2016
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm AEST
Event Categories:




Annie Wyatt Room at the SH Ervin Gallery
2 Watson Road
Millers Point, NSW Australia
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