Japan earth

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An early name for cutch, an organic plant dye obtained from the Acacia trees native to Southeast Asia that were imported to Japan and China as early as the 1500s. When it was seen in Japan by a Portuguese explorer, it was mistakenly called as 'terra japonica' because it was thought to be an earth pigment.

Synonyms and Related Terms

terra japonica; cutch; catechu

Resources and Citation

  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • R.D. Harley, Artists' Pigments c. 1600-1835, Butterworth Scientific, London, 1982
  • John and Margaret Cannon, Dye Plants and Dyeing, Herbert Press, London, 1994 Comment: Contains story of Portuguese explorer.