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An Asa Benibana Kimono: Shocking Pink Safflower Dye and Bast Fiber

Written on May 19, 2010

This is a very richly colored kimono: it is made of  hand plied, hand woven hemp cloth that has been dyed using benibana, or a safflower-derived dye.

AsaBenibanaKimono1The color is gorgeous and the condition is superb: the benibana dye is still as vibrant as the day it was made.  Safflower dye can be very light-fugitive, so fading is a common problem with fabrics dyed in benibana.   The fact that this one is so beautifully intact and vivid is worth noting.AsaBenibanaKimono1aThe interior of the eri, or collar, is lined in chirimen, or crepe, silk which has been dyed in what appears to be a synthetic, red dye–not uncommon during the Meiji Era (1868-1912) which is the era I believe this kimono was made.AsaBenibanaKimono1bPictured on the cloth are images rendered in the shibori technique:  folding fans, plum blossoms, and chidori, or plovers which are depicted scampering through the surf.AsaBenibanaKimono1c

AsaBenibanaKimono1dThis kimono, for its fine condition and rich color, is a prime example of its type.

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  1. Comment by velma bolyard:

    amazing color. and the plovers!

    May 23, 2010 @ 8:36 am