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In search of forgotten colours

18 minutes

Sublime colours brought back from oblivion – the exquisite effects of natural dyes

This striking and almost entirely wordless video from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London beautifully conveys the work of Sachio Yoshioka, the fifth-generation owner of the Somenotsukasa Yoshioka dye workshop in Fushimi, southern Kyoto. Since taking over the business in 1988, Yoshioka has pivoted from synthetic dyes to traditional Japanese methods that draw extraordinary, rich colours from bark, berries, flowers, leaves and roots. Yoshioka says he’s resurrected these pre-19th-century methods from historical documents and textile samples not to preserve history, but because of the unmatched beauty of the colours they create. Split into four parts, In Search of Forgotten Colours: Sachio Yoshioka and the Art of Natural Dyeing details Yoshioka’s work and methods, including his important role creating dyed paper flowers for the annual Japanese Buddhist Omizutori ceremony in the historic city of Nara.

Via Kottke

Director: Mika Kawase

Producers: Kazunori Terada, Kenji Hyodo

Website: Victoria and Albert Museum

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