london postcard #1: The V&A

london postcard #1: The V&A

File under "the many ways in which I am spoiled rotten": I got to spend Christmas in London.

While Dear Husband spent his day at the London office of his employer, I walked through Hyde Park and spent the day at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

london postcard #1: The V&A london postcard #1: The V&A london postcard #1: The V&A

I had terrible jet lag for nearly the entire trip, and my sleep-deprived befuddlement lead to a museum experience in which I was really focused on details. Luckily, the V&A is a great place to be really focused on details. 

I spent quite a bit of time in the Japan room. My favorite details included a netsuke* of a snail with wonderful antennae, a hand-guard from a samurai sword decorated with tea whisks, and a striped pottery vessel.

The hand-guard in particular got me thinking about the samurai who commissioned it, and what our design choices say about us as people. Did this man want to be reminded of the comfort of tea-making, hearth, and home, as he's out fighting for his master, or did the tea whisks signify something else entirely? In any case, the hand-guard is a lovely piece of design.

I'll have at least two more postcards from the V&A - one with details from their Chinese collection, and one from their Islamic Art collection.

What did you see over your holidays?

*netsuke are small decorative carvings, part of traditional Japanese dress. Because kimono don't have pockets, small enameled boxes or pouches were used to hold snuff and other things you'd normally put in your pockets. The pouch or box would then be attached to a cord, with a netsuke on the other end. The cord would go under the obi (belt) holding the kimono closed, and the netsuke would end up on top of the obi, with the pouch or box dangling below.