May Lecture

May 12, 2022 11:00 am

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Pillsbury Auditorium

Ticket Price: Free

Please join us for the May Friends Lecture, “The Social Fabric” given by Anna Jackson, Keeper of the Asian Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Anna Jackson

Anna Jackson is Keeper of the Asia Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum. A specialist in Japanese textiles and dress, she is the curator of the 2020 exhibition Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk and editor of the accompanying publication. Her other books include Japanese Country Textiles (1997), Japanese Textiles in the Victoria and Albert Museum (2000), and Kimono: The Art and Evolution of Japanese Fashion – the Khalili Collection (2015).

Japan’s rich textile traditions have always played a crucial role in the social, economic and cultural life of the country. The focus of sartorial attention has often been the sumptuous silks worn by the Japanese elite, but the vast majority of the population would have dressed in clothing made of cotton or the fibers of wild plants. Such garments and other textiles, whether used for work or leisure, were part of the everyday world of those living in nineteenth and early twentieth century Japan. Yet in the beauty of their bold and often exuberant designs, they were far from ordinary. 

Drawing on the works to be featured in the MIA exhibition Dressed by Nature, and on those in the V&A and other collections, this lecture will explore what these textiles they can tell us about the lives, beliefs and tastes of those who created and consumed them. In doing so, it will pull together the common threads that bound rural villages to fashionable city streets and connected farmers and fishermen to merchants and entertainers. It will also examine the value and meaning these works have today and the efforts being made to preserve the skills and artistry they embody. 

Another of Anna’s research interest is the cultural relationship between Asia and the West. She has contributed her knowledge to a number of Victoria and Albert exhibitions and their related publications including Art Nouveau 1890-1914 (2000) and Art Deco 1914-1939 (2003). In 2004 she was co-curator of Encounters: the Meeting of Asia and Europe 1500-1800 and in 2009 lead curator of Maharaja: the Splendour of Indias Royal Courts, which subsequently toured internationally. She is also the author of Expo: International Expositions 1851-2010. In December 2020, Anna was awarded the Foreign Minister’s Commendation by the Japanese Government for her contribution to the promotion of Japanese art and culture in Britain. 

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