Edo Yuzen Dyeing

. shokunin 職人 craftsman, craftsmen, artisan, Handwerker .
Edo Yuuzen 江戸友禅 Edo Yuzen

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yuuzenzome 友禅染  "Yuzen-style Kimono dyeing."
A form of paste-resist dyeing with beautiful colors and pictorial designs. Itis named after the Kyoto fan painter 宮崎友禅 Miyazaki Yuzen, who is credited with perfecting the technique around 1700.
. yuuzenzome 友禅染 - "Yuzen-style dyeing" .
- Introduction -

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Tokyo Tegaki Yuzen 東京手描き友禅 友禅

Main Areas of Manufacture
Shinjuku Ward, Nerima Ward, Arakawa Ward

Traditional Technologies and Techniques
-- For Tokyo Tegaki Yuzen (hand-painted kimono), preliminary designs are sketched on textiles using an extract from spiderwort (青花 aobana, Asian dayflower), etc.
-- Resist dyeing is done by applying either dye-resistant pastes to textiles or by covering areas with wax.
-- Various types of brush are used for coloring and the painting of designs.
-- Crests are applied either by brush or by using paper cut-out stencils.
-- Embroidery is undertaken by hand.
1- 下絵は、青花等を用いて描く。
2- 防染は、糸目糊、白付け糊、堰(せき)出し糊、伏せ糊、又はろう(原文は「ろう」は漢字)描きによる。
3- 挿し及び描き染めは筆又は刷毛(はけ)を用いる。
4- 紋章上絵(もんしょううわえ)は、毛描き又は紋章彫刻をした型紙を用いる刷り込みによる。
5- 刺繍(ししゅう)は、手刺繍による。

Traditionally Used Raw Materials
Woven silk textiles - 絹織物

History and Characteristics
The origins of yuzen dyeing are said to lay in the Edo Period's Jokyo Era (1684-1687) during which there was an artist in Kyoto whose real name was Hioki Kiyochika 日置清親 (1650-1736). This person nevertheless used Miyazaki Yuzensai 宮崎友禅斎 as his professional name.

In 好色一代男 "The Life of an Amorous Man," a well-known work of fiction of the Edo Period by Ihara Saikaku (1642-1693), there is a woodblock print called "The Twenty Dyed Fan Yuzen," this title hints at the fact that Miyazaki Yuzensai was also known to be a painter of fans. One day, due to a request received from a drapery, Miyazaki painted a design that featured a pattern of family crests, and it subsequently became wildly popular. The pattern represented a departure from dyed goods up until then, with its popularity said to have stemmed from its use of color. Ogata Korin 尾形光琳 (1658-1716), one of the most well-known artists in Japanese history also tried his hand at yuzen techniques, and examples of his work remain with us today.

When Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616) established the Edo Shogunate (1603-1868), many dyers and artists employed by daimyo (feudal lords) relocated from Kyoto to Edo. Various technologies and techniques were patronized, and this resulted in the creation of a wide variety of both woven textiles and dyed goods. That water was an integral part of dyeing processes also proved a very important factor. Thus, many dyers ended up living along the banks of the Kanda River.

A drapery called "Echigoya" 越後屋呉服店 opened in Nihonbashi (now known as the Mitsukoshi Department Store) in the first year of the Enpo Era (1673). It established a dye works further up the Kanda River around Tokyo Yamanote (close to modern Takadanobaba in Shinjuku Ward). Even today, the largest number of dye works in Tokyo is found in Shinjuku. Concerning Tokyo Tegaki Yuzen (hand-painted kimono), from development of conceptualizations, the sketching of preliminary designs, and until project completion, craftspeople carry out tasks as a continuous operation, each working individually. A feature of such kimono is that even within garments of a single color, there is a sense of beauty and elegance.

Tokyo Kogei Senshoku Cooperative Association
- source : sangyo-rodo.metro.tokyo.jp


yuuzenzomeshi 友禅染師 artisan dyeing Yuzen cloths

Since the very expensive Kimonos made of stiching patterns with gold and silver thread and other kinds of high-class patterns were eventually forbidden in Edo, the craftsmen had to think of other methods to bring some "color" in the daily life of the citizens.

The process of Yusen-dyeing is quite complicated and soon specialists for each process came together in a workshop to share the work.
From painting the images, applying paste, adding color, steaming, drying,
washing in a river (yuuzen nagashi 友禅流し Yuzen nagashi
 . . . , drying again . . .


- - - - - H A I K U and S E N R Y U - - - - -

. Kaga Yuzen 加賀友禅 from Ishikawa .

Kaga yuuzen egaku hyakka ya fuyu tomoshi

Kaga Yuzen
painted with so many flowers -
winter lights

Tr. Gabi Greve

楠久子 Kusu Hisako


yuku aki ya Kaga yuuzen no koburoshiki

autumn has come to an end -
this small Furoshiki wrapper
from Kaga Yuzen

Tr. Gabi Greve

新田美智子 Nitta Michiko

CLICK for more Yuzen Furoshiki !


加賀友禅筆より草の花生まる 野崎ゆり香

しぐるるや加賀友禅の鏡掛 中橋文子
人とその影加賀友禅を晒しをり 石原八束
冬ざれの赤を散りばめ加賀友禅 中山純子
冬川をたぐり寄せては布放つ(加賀友禅) 飴山實

春雨の加賀友禅の街にあり 岩崎すゞ
短日や加賀友禅の先ぼかし 新井佳津子
赤多き加賀友禅にしぐれ来る 綾子


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. - Doing Business in Edo - 商売 - Introduction .

. shokunin 職人 craftsman, craftsmen, artisan, Handwerker .

. senryu, senryū 川柳 Senryu poems in Edo .

. densetsu 伝説 Japanese Legends - Introduction .

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