The Benibana Museum (The Safflower Museum)

17. Benibana Charmed the Noblemen (貴族を魅了した紅花)

Benibana was transported from Korea. Besides the seeds and the way of growing were conveyed, the crafts men also moved to Japan who could manage the technique to make a cake of lumps of the flower and to product the bright red pigment, to dye cloth. It could be said that the delivery of benibana was the import of new dyeing culture.

The beauty of rouge must have charmed the many noble ladies. A beautiful lady painted in "Torige-ritsujo-no-byoubu" (鳥毛立女屏風) in the Shosouin (正倉院), and a lady of "Kisshoten-zo" (吉祥天像) and the "Bosatsu-zo" (菩薩像) are all ornamented by lipstick and cheek rouge. That clearly shows that benibana caught the mind of upper class people and colored their daily lives.

The noble men who were charmed by the beauty of benibana founded the office to manage the dyeing work soon. In 701, they declared the "Taihou Ritsuryo" (大宝律令) and settled the officer, the chief of weaving, under whom the dyeing craftsmen worked for wearing and dyeing.

In Heian period, they made the rule "Engishiki" (延喜式) <50 vols.> that was compiled to perform various political rules. This rule contains the minute practical ways which were already stipulated "Yorou Ritsuryo" (『養老律令』) in 967. In the fourteenth volume of the rules, the detailed record about weaving and dyeing can be seen. In those days, people had already known "purple dyeing" (紫染) and "indigo dyeing" (藍染) in addition to "beni-dyeing" (紅染), but the "beni-dyeing" was appreciated to be the most elegant and valuable one.

Soon after "beni-dyeing" was delivered to this country, that was authorized in the formal political systems.

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  1. Benibana (Safflower : Carthamus Tinctorius) Revived
  2. From the Horigome Residence of a Wealthy Farmer to the Museum
  3. Horigome's Former Residence
  4. The Benibana House
  5. Place of Origin of Benibana
  6. Flora of Benibana
  7. Kinds of Benibana
  8. Its Use and Effect
  9. How to Grow Benibana
  10. Variety of Dyeing Materials
  11. Main Plants Dyes
  12. Technique of Benibana Dyes
  13. Benibana Dyeing for Everybody
  14. How to Make Benibana Wine
  15. How to Make Rouge
  16. History of Benibana
  17. Benibana Charmed the Noblemen
  18. Benibana for Tax Obligation
  19. Nobunaga Oda Made a Present of Benibana
  20. Supplication of Yoshiaki Mogami
  21. Anrakuji Temple Documents of Benibana Donation
  22. Evaluation of Mogami Benibana
  23. Prosperity of Flower Market
  24. "Mebaya" and "Sanbe" as Traders
  25. All the Fields Covered with Benibana
  26. Two Haiku Lines of Benibana
  27. Yield of Benibana
  28. Area under Cultivation of Mogami-benibana
  29. Price of Mogami-benibana
  30. Route of Benibana Conveyance
  31. Deterioration of Mogami Benibana
  32. Decline of Domestic Benibana
  33. Life of Mogami-benibana
  34. Kahoku Town - Town of Safflower
  35. Benibana Tradings
  36. Benibana Jizo as a Guardian
  37. Color of Twelve Official Ranks
  38. Rich Benibana Traders and Road of Culture
  40. Conversion Table
  41. Access