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Kusaki Zome, Dyeing Method with Vegetables and Plants

The interesting thing about Kusaki zome (草木染め, a dyeing method with plants) is that the colors are extracted from not only plants, but also from vegetable skins or even insects.

Ever since the Heian (平安) period, Kusaki zome method has been traditionally employed for creating gorgeous Kimono (着物) such as Juni-hitoe (十二単, 12 layered kimono for noble women). Since the color tones cannot be stable with this method, producing exact the same color is almost impossible. In that sense, chemical dyeing techniques are far easy and convenient. Therefore, Kusaki Zome products are very time consuming hence very expensive.

In the Heian period, learning the sense of seasonal transition and wearing suitable Kimono accordingly was considered as a very important manner among the noblemen society, whereas the general public had no choice other than wearing clothes made of raw material, such as linen. Enjoying colors were the privilege given only to wealthy people.

In this modern world, I would like to try as many colors as possible. Since Kusaki Zome Kimono and Obi are still very expensive, I started with buying accessories such as Obiage (帯揚げ, a sash between Kimono and Obi to hide strings). Please enjoy the world of soft colors of Kusaki Zome.

Click here to see a Blog by a Former Maiko, “Do You Know?”

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