Man for all seasons
MASTER COLOURIST SACHIO YOSHIOKA
Colour played a central role in courtly life The literature of the day comments the layered silk garments which were
The five to twenty individual silk robes arranged in precisely chosen chromatic layers were known as irome no kasane. The colours of a particular ensemble announced the wearer’s court rank, impressed others with the sophistication of colour combinations, and acted as a visual commentary on the transient seasons.
In Heian Japan the four seasons were divided into 24 ‘sub-seasons’, further broken down into 72 ‘subsub-seasons.’ Each incremental change of season, or every five days, was associated with a particular flower, poem, song and a distinct colour palette. To properly acknowledge the micro-metamorphosing of nature, and to gain attention at court, the Heian courtier’s kasane needed to be a delicate visual allusion to a particular moment in the natural world.
For Sachio Yoshioka, a fifth-generation master dyer in Kyoto, Japan, it is this complex and profoundly poetic Heian Period aesthetic system – the weaving together of colour, literature, nature and persona – that serves as the platform and inspiration for utilizing ancient techniques to dye with botanical colours and natural mordants. Yoshioka’s expertise in traditional dyeing techniques is on par with his expertise in Japanese literature. At Waseda University in Tokyo, Yoshioka received a degree in ‘Literary Writing’ and he Tsuneh iiro Kobayash
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