Thursday, February 25, 2010
This is one of the 17 (?) wraps for The Ancestress in the 3rd quarter of You'll Always Come Back. Years ago I read, in a book about clothing, that the Imperial Princess in old Japan was only seen once in public in her life. The event was carefully staged, with the Princess ceremonially dressed in 17 layers of sewn-in-place clothing. Once cocooned in the complete outfit, she was unable to move, in effect a living sculpture, and, in a way, a symbol and demonstration of both the power of, and sacrifice required by, the woman's role in that society. The description stuck in my head, and YACB's 3rd act is the perfect place to enact it. Bound in place.
The layer depicted in this sketch is of indigo stretch fabric with sewn in ribs made of oak splints. There's a large wrap for the body and two smaller wraps for the arms. The naturally curved splints stick out like the spines of a scorpion fish. The footwear consists of a pair of wood platform clogs, about 24 inches in height, completely studded with nkisi-style nails.
Since the numbers 7 and 9 have more symbolic significance in YACB than 17, and since the 3rd Act is only about 20 minutes long, I'm beginning to think that 17 layers may be at least 8 too many!