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.