Dayflower: Ukiyo-e colorant

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Express Delivery Boats Rowing through Waves by Katsushika Hokusai

Dayflower 青花(aobana): A blue dye extracted from the petals of Commelina communis var. hortensis (大帽子花 ooboshibana) better known as aobana. It is cultivated from the Asiatic dayflower (Commelina communis) or tsukusa (露草) to produce a larger petal to yield more dye. The dye is brushed onto Japanese paper, which acts as the vehicle to retain a concentrated dye as well to prevent the oxidation of the dye. The dayflower dyed paper is known as aobana gami (青花紙) or aigami (藍紙). The blue colorant in dayflower is primarily commelinin. Besides being used as a colorant in Japanese woodblock prints, it was commonly used to draw the underdrawing in yuzen dyeing. Aobana and aobana paper was made in Kusatsu and is still produced but only three farmer/producers remain today.

Dayflower along with indigo are the two blues used in Japanese woodblock prints before Prussian blue entered the palette in the 1830's. Dayflower can appear bluish gray to greenish yellow to tan depending on its state of preservation. Highly water soluble, dayflower was frequently the last color to be printed. Its solubility also presented a special challenge to the printer since this feature makes it difficult to print uniform and sharply defined edges of design. Despite these challenges, dayflower appears to have been used more often than indigo.

Dayflower is also frequently mixed with a red extracted from safflower to produce a variety of purples. Dayflower with turmeric through mixing or overprinting to produce greens are often found in early prints of two to three colors.

For more information see: Dayflower

Examples of Dayflower in Ukiyo-e Prints

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The Brine Maidens by Torii Kiyonaga

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Indigo FORS.JPG
Beauties of the Yoshiwara by Suzuki Harunobu

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Beauties of the Yoshiwara by Suzuki Harunobu

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Beauties of the Yoshiwara by Suzuki Harunobu

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Beauties of the Yoshiwara by Suzuki Harunobu

Analysis

Fiber optic reflectance spectroscopy (FORS) can easily identify the three blues: dayflower, indigo, and Prussian blue.

Other Images of Dayflower

List of Prints

Below is a list of prints where dayflower was detected.

Pages in category "Dayflower: Ukiyo-e colorant"

The following 43 pages are in this category, out of 43 total.

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