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Accepted Paper:

Inheritance and Innovation: Yūzen-dye Designs and Techniques in Hinagatabon  

Author:

Mizuho Kamo (Mukogawa Women's University Museum)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will discuss the process by which yūzen-dyed designs and techniques influenced each other by comparing Edo period hinagatabon to Meiji period reprints and pattern designs. In addition to considering the historical background of the Meiji period enthusiasm for new realistic patterns.

Paper long abstract:

The yūzen (paste-resist) dying technique was first established in the mid-17th century and the technique continues to the present day. Various colored dyes are inserted along thin lines of paste to create extremely detailed decorative pictures. Prior to the development of yūzen, kimono had been decorated using embroidery and shibori tie-dye. After this new technique appeared, the level of detail in kimono designs increased dramatically and the customer base spread to include many social classes. The first recorded instance of the term "yūzen-dyed" is in the Genji hinagata (Genji Patterns, 1687). As the technique was well suited for creating picture-like designs, yūzen made many appearances in later hinagatabon. However, in the years leading up to the 19th century, abstract designs of lines and matrices became more popular than realistic images. Hinagatabon publication was discontinued and yūzen became limited to the upper class because it was categorized as a high-class good in the late 19th century.

After the Meiji Restoration, first the capital then the Emperor was moved to Tokyo. To confront this challenging political and financial reality, Kyoto residents decided to reorganize their industry and economy around Kyoto's greatest strengths; arts-and-crafts. Around 1881 new yūzen techniques were developed using chemical dyes and stencil papers (kata- yūzen). The highly efficient kata-yūzen technique could apply dye and paste at the same time. During the same period, there was new demand for designs that went beyond the typified patterns. The customer base spread through the classes due to the emergence of these new techniques and more people were able to buy kimono with kata-yūzen designs. Once again realistic designs were sought after and kata-yūzen and traditional hand-drawn yūzen were classified together. However, since the techniques differ, the designs changed a great deal from the Edo period.

This paper will discuss the process by which yūzen-dyed designs and techniques influenced each other by comparing Edo period hinagatabon to Meiji period full color reprints and zuan (pattern designs). This paper will then consider the historical background of the Meiji period enthusiasm for new realistic patterns.

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