I am pretty sure I just fell in love with this armored dress. Look at the detail isn't it AMAZING! The fluted collar is probably my favorite part. But the detailing on the under skirt intimating Shantung silk is stunning as well. I studied metal smithing for several years. So the amount of work that I know went into it makes my arms ache just looking at it. Of course I can't find any information about it other than just the picture. So feel free to post in the comment section if you know anything about it. It looks like a Spanish garment, but the armor around it looks British or possibly French. I'm hoping that it doesn't turn out that it was some sort of horrible torture devise. That would make me very sad. So I will stay positive and think of it as some sort of fanciful amazing piece of craftsmanship from a wondrous bygone era.
I found a new movie on Netflix that I am loving A LOT!!! It's called Absentia, and it has all my favorite kinds of spooky! Fairy tale myth brought into the real world, supernatural realm lurking all around us, monsters living just down the street, and cryptozoology . It is just so moody and atmospheric, with well played scare moments. Also, they keep the gore down to a minimum, while useing a lot more of dark things lurking in the corner. It's also one of those movies that sticks with you for days to come. So that when your walking to your car late at night you quicken your pace and look over your shoulder a little bit more. So much fun. And even though I've seen it a couple of times I still can't watch it late at night by myself.
This post on Buzz feed is KILLING ME!!! It's called "24 Fierce Gowns That Scream World Domination" the gowns are AMAZING, but the comments above them are even better. Here is their caption for the gown in this picture... "It is a Redingote from the 1810’s with the caption “This gown used to be white before I was called into battle and bathed in the blood of my enemies.” So cute!
Here is the other gown that I am completely in love with. It's a Worth tea gown from 1895 with the caption, “I can’t hear you over the sound of the patriarchy collapsing.” Teeee Heeee... yep that seems just about right.
For some reason in my searches around the web all these odd Kabuto or Samuri helmets have been popping up. One in particular a friend pointed out to me, little miss MonstrousIndustry. It's a bunny, and I LOVE him!
"A kabuto (兜, 冑) is a helmet used with traditional Japanese armour as worn by samurai. It features a strong bowl, the "hachi", which protects the crown of the head, a suspended series of articulated plates (the "shikoro") to protect the neck, and often a crest of the clan (mon). In the Japanese language, the word kabuto is a generic name for just any helmet, but in Western usage it refers to a distinctively Japanese Samurai helmet. Another form of kabuto is the "kawari kabuto", or "strange helmet". During the Momoyama period of intense civil warfare, theproduction of helmets was simplified to a three or four plate design that lacked many of the ornamental features of earlier helmets. To offset the plain, utilitarian form of the new helmet,
and to provide visibility and presence on the battlefield, armorers began to build fantastic shapes on top of the simple helmets in harikake, or lacquered paper over a wooden armature. These shapes mimicked forms from Japanese culture and mythology, including fish, cow horns, the head of the god of longevity, bolts of silk, head scarved, ichi-no-tani canyon, and ace heads, among many others. Some forms were realistically rendered, while others took on a very futuristic, modernist feel. A definitive show of kawari kabuto was mounted by the Japan Society in 1985. The catalog, entitled "Spectacular Helmets of Japan" (ISBN 0-87011-784-X) is a good guide to this form. (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabuto )"
In an earlier post I wined about my missed oppretiunity to by htis amaZing lotus mold well it just made me want to go back and shop more at their site That post is on my menagerie blog. So here a few more loves that I have found and an explination as to what to do with htem. Then I dug into their history a bit and their odd connection with the dead So her eis a quick history of Japanes sweet molds and their surprising connection with the dead. sort of goes with my theme of japanese ghosts
Vintage from Japan is this wonderful shop on Etsy that offers all sort of goodies straight from the land of the rising sun. The first time I saw these sweet molds I fell in love. Here is how the shop describes what they are exactly an how they are used... "Often made of sakura (cherry wood) and seasoned for about 3 years before carving, kashigata were used to make dried confectionery made of rice flour and sugar called rakugan. Earliest records show that this practice dates back to the mid-17th century.
These confections were used as offerings and snacks for celebratory occasions and even unfortunate events. For example when a person died, it was expensive to giveflowers or fresh food so, people made these sweets in the form of flowers, fish etc. These items were then placed on the "butsudan" (family shrine found in the house) for the dead person.Kashigata were also used in the making of wagashi (nama-gashi or freshly made cake and hi-gashi or driedconfectionery) for tea ceremonies.
Common kashigata motifs in the Edo era - chrysanthemums, plum blossoms
Meiji Era - spread of western technology - balloons, planes
World War II - national pride heightened - cherry blossoms, battleships - used as gifts for departing troops, ceremonies and commemorative occasions.
With the advent of refrigeration, fresh fish replaced rakugan motifs like the sea bream. Sadly today, making offerings for fortunate and unfortunate events is no longer a common practice. This in turn has lessened rakugan demand although they are still found in tea ceremonies and homes. The decrease in kashigata artisans today has made kashigata carving a dying craft making kashigata itself a sought-after collectible."
I just caught Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan on TCM tonight. I WAS going to go to bed early, but noooooo TCM has to lure me in and hold my attention till 3 am with an ancient Japanese ghost story yet again. Thanks TCM! Thanks sooooo much! I liked it so much that I tried to find the movie on line to buy it. Of course it is unavailable, but in snooping around the net I found that this movie is based on a much older Kabuki story. This history of this play is really quite interesting. Below is some of what I learned.
"Yotsuya Kaidan, the story of Oiwa and Tamiya Iemon, is a tale of betrayal, murder and ghostly revenge. Arguably the most famous Japanese ghost story of all time, it has been adapted for film over 30 times, and continues to be an influence on Japanese horror today. Written in 1825 by Tsuruya Nanboku IV as a kabuki play, the original title was Tōkaidō Yotsuya Kaidan. It is now generally shortened, and loosely translates as Ghost Story of Yotsuya. First staged in July 1825, Yotsuya Kaidan appeared at the Nakamuraza theater as a double-feature with the immensely popular Kanadehon Chushingura. Normally, with a Kabuki double-feature, the first play is staged in its entirety, followed by the second play. However, in the case of Yotsuya Kaidan it was decided to interweave the two dramas, with a full staging on two days. The play was incredibly successful, and forced the producers to schedule extra out-of-season performances to meet demand. The story tapped into people’s fears by bringing the ghosts of Japan out of the temples and aristocrats' mansions and into the home of common people, the exact type of people who were the audience of his theater.
Oiwa is an onryō, a ghost who seeks vengeance. Her strong passion for revenge allows her to bridge the gap back to Earth. She shares most of the common traits of this style of Japanese ghost, including the white dress representing the burial kimono she would have worn, the long, ragged hair and white/indigo face that marks a ghost in kabuki theater. There are specific traits to Oiwa that set her apart physically from other onryo. Most famous is her left eye, which droops down her face due to poison given her by Iemon. This feature is exaggerated in kabuki performances to give Oiwa a distinct appearance. She is often shown as partially bald, another effect of the poison. In a spectacular scene in the kabuki play, the living Oiwa sits before a mirror and combs her hair, which comes falling out due to the poison. This scene is a subversion of erotically-charged hair combing scenes in kabuki love plays. The hair piles up to tremendous heights, achieved by a stage hand who sits under the stage and pushes more and more hair
up through the floor while Oiwa is combing. Oiwa is supposedly buried at a temple, Myogyo-ji, in Sugamo, a neighborhood of Tokyo. The date of her death is listed as February 22, 1636. Several productions of Yotsuya Kaidan, including television and movie adaptations, have reported mysterious accidents, injuries and even deaths. Prior to staging an adaptation of Yotsuya Kaidan it is now a tradition for the principal actors and the director to make a pilgrimage to Oiwa's grave and ask her permission and blessing for their production. This is considered especially important of the actor assuming the role of Oiwa.
Sadako Yamamura from the film Ring is a clear homage to Oiwa. Her final appearance is a direct adaptation of Oiwa, including the cascading hair and drooping, malformed eye. Also in Ju-on when Hitomi is watching the television, the television presenter is morphed into a woman with one small eye and one large eye- possibly a reference to Oiwa. (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yotsuya_Kaidan)
Yūrei are figures in Japanese folklore, analogous to Western legends of ghosts. The name consists of two kanji, 幽 (yū), meaning "faint" or "dim" and 霊 (rei), meaning "soul" or "spirit." Alternative names include 亡霊 (Bōrei) meaning ruined or departed spirit, 死霊 (Shiryō) meaning dead spirit, or the more encompassing 妖怪 (Yōkai) or お化け (Obake).
According to traditional Japanese beliefs, all humans have a spirit or soul called a (reikon). When a person dies, the reikon leaves the body and enters a form of purgatory, where it waits for the proper funeral and post-funeral rites to be performed, so that it may join its ancestors. If this is done correctly, the reikon is believed to be a protector of the living family and to return yearly in August during the Obon Festival to receive thanks. However, if the person dies in a sudden or violent manner such as murder or suicide, if the proper rites have not been performed, or if they are influenced by powerful emotions such as a desire for revenge, love, jealousy, hatred or sorrow, the reikon is thought to transform into a yūrei, which can then bridge the gap back to the physical world.
The yūrei then exists on Earth until it can be laid to rest, either by performing the missing rituals, or resolving the emotional conflict that still ties it to the physical plane. If the rituals are not completed or the conflict left unresolved, the yūrei will persist in its haunting.
Today, the appearance of yūrei in film and stage is somewhat uniform, instantly signalling the ghostly nature of the figure, and assuring that it is culturally authentic.
White clothing - Yūrei are usually dressed in white, signifying the white burial kimono used in Edo period funeral rituals. In Shinto, white is a color of ritual purity, traditionally reserved for priests and the dead. This kimono can either be a katabira (a plain, white, unlined kimono) or a kyokatabira (a white katabira inscribed with Buddhist sutras). They sometimes have a hitaikakushi (lit., "forehead cover"), which is a small white triangular piece of cloth tied around the head.
Black hair - Hair of a yūrei is often long, black and disheveled, which some believe to be a trademark carried over from Kabuki Theater, where wigs are used for all actors. However, this is a misconception. Japanese women traditionally grew their hair long and wore it pinned up, and it was let down for the funeral and burial.
Hands and feet - A yūrei's hands dangle lifelessly from the wrists, which are held outstretched with the elbows near the body. They typically lack legs and feet, floating in the air. These features originated in Edo period ukiyo-e prints, but were quickly copied over to kabuki. In kabuki, this lack of legs and feet is often represented by the use of a very long kimono, or even hoisting the actor into the air by a series of ropes and pulleys.
Hitodama - Yūrei are frequently depicted as being accompanied by a pair of floating flames or will o' the wisps (Hitodama in Japanese) in eerie colors such as blue, green, or purple. These ghostly flames are separate parts of the ghost rather than independent spirits. (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yūrei )
With Halloween just around the corner it is only fitting that I have ghosts on the brain. So while watching a particularly scary Japanese horror film the other day, J-Horror Anthology: Legends (2005), I got to thinking about all the different types of Ghost the Japanese have. Here are a few of them...
While all Japanese ghosts are called yūrei, within that category there are several specific types of phantom, classified mainly by the manner they died or their reason for returning to Earth.
Onryō - Vengeful ghosts who come back from purgatory for a wrong done to them during their lifetime.
Ubume - A mother ghost who died in childbirth, or died leaving young children behind. This yūrei returns to care for her children, often bringing them sweets.
Goryō - Vengeful ghosts of the aristocratic class, especially those who were martyred.
Funayūrei - The ghosts of those who died at sea. These ghosts are sometimes depicted as scaly fish-like humanoids and some may even have a form similar to that of a mermaid or merman.
Zashiki-warashi - The ghosts of children, often mischievous rather than dangerous.
Samurai Ghosts - Veterans of the Genpei War who fell in battle. Warrior Ghosts almost exclusively appear in Noh Theater. Unlike most other yūrei, these ghosts are usually shown with legs.
Seductress Ghosts - The ghost of a woman or man who initiates a post-death love affair with a living human.
There are two types of ghosts specific to Buddhism, both being examples of unfullfilled earthly hungers being carried on after death. They are different from other classifications of yūrei due to their wholly religious nature.
Gaki- "Hungery Ghost"
Jikininki- "human-eating ghosts"
(pronounced shokujinki in modern Japanese) are the spirits of greedy, selfish or impious individuals who are cursed after death to seek out and eat human corpses.
Ikiryō- "a manifestation of the soul of a living person separately from their body"
In Japanese folklore, not only the dead are able to manifest their reikon for a haunting. Living creatures possessed by extraordinary jealousy or rage can release their spirit as an ikiryō, a living ghost that can enact its will while still alive. The most famous example of an ikiryo is Rokujo no Miyasundokoro, from the novel The Tale of Genji.
Obake Yūrei often fall under the general umbrella term of obake, derived from the verb bakeru, meaning "to change"; thus obake arepreternatural beings who have undergone some sort of change, from the natural realm to the supernatural.
However, Kunio Yanagita, one of Japan's earliest and foremost folklorists, made a clear distinction between yūrei and obake in his seminal "Yokaidangi (Lectures on Monsters)." He claimed that yūrei haunt a particular person, while obake haunt a particular place.
When looking at typical kaidan (roughly translated as old fashioned ghost story), this does not appear to be true. Yūrei such as Okiku haunt a particular place -in Okiku's case, the well where she died-, and continue to do so long after the person who killed them has died.
Yūrei do not wander at random, but generally stay near a specific location, such as where they were killed or where their body lies, or follow a specific person, such as their murderer, or a beloved. They usually appear between 2 and 3 a.m, the witching hour for Japan, when the veils between the world of the dead and the world of the living are at their thinnest.
Yūrei will continue to haunt that particular person or place until their purpose is fulfilled, and they can move on to the afterlife. However, some particularly strong yūrei, specifically onryō who are consumed by vengeance, continue to haunt long after their killers have been brought to justice.
Some famous locations that are said to be haunted by yūrei are the well of Himeji Castle, haunted by the ghost of Okiku, and Aokigahara, the forest at the bottom of Mt. Fuji, which is a popular location for suicide. A particularly powerful onryō, Oiwa, is said to be able to bring vengeance on any actress portraying her part in a theater or film adaptation.
Yūrei-ga gallery at Zenshoan Temple
Zenshoan(全生庵) Temple in Tokyo, Japan is known for its collection of yūrei paintings, known as the Yūrei-ga gallery. The 50 silk paintings, most of which date back 150 to 200 years, depict a variety of apparitions from the forlorn to the ghastly.
The scrolls were collected by Sanyu-tei Encho(三遊亭円朝), a famous storyteller (rakugo artist) during the Edo era who studied at Zenshoan. Encho is said to have collected the scrolls as a source of inspiration for the ghostly tales he loved to tell in summer.
They are open for viewing only in August, the traditional time in Japan for ghost stories. (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yūrei )
I just wanted to state that it's been twelve years since the movie Moulin Rouge came out and I am still enthralled over this headdress. Actually all the jewelry and costumes in this movie. I've been promising myself for years that when I get a little more time I will have to make my own based on this one. This post is to reaffirm to myself that this is still something I have to do. Yes is has been a twelve year long promise, and yes it is still on the to do list. It will happen I promise!
EJPcreations is a mad scientist of a woman specializing in creating tiaras, necklaces, and fascinators, with a noir, and gothic flair. All adornments have a hint of vampire elegance, a dash of Steampunk bravado, and plenty of Neo-Victorian sensibilities.
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