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The National Gallery of Art will lend you a free video called "Daimyo"
which is a great resource that examines the dual way of the sword and
the brush of the Daimyo Warrior Society in Ancient Japan. I do lots of
lessons tied to it...
Kimonos with clan symbols (family crests)
We discuss the Japanese aesthetic of simplicity and uncluttered areas,
such as seen in a tea house or garden. Also, look at many examples of
the Kimono. I am fortunate to have a fellow teacher who has donated a
kimono to me for this lesson. I present this lesson to third graders.
Origami paper with kimono prints
4"x 6" black paper
9"x 6" assorted construction paper
1/2"x 6" strips of assorted construction paper
1 1/2" squares of white paper and template to make it into a circle
We make a very simple kimono form using Origami paper that comes with
Kimono prints on it. The students cut about a one inch strip off their
paper which they trade with someone else who has a different pattern,
and use it for the obi or belt. Then glue it on a simple black
background using thin strips of construction paper to make a border....
I also toss in contrasting color and color value ideas there...
Since my students all have to know their Navajo clan, I try to show
them how the Japanese families developed a simple design to show thier
clans. The kids then make a symbol for their family clan using this
concept... for example, the kids in the salt clan make a salt shaker. We
draw this on a small white circle.. about 1" in diameter and glue it
onto the Kimono. You might want your students to investigate their
family heritage and use that as a connection between Japan and
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