Benibana: Safflower Red in Japan

Kuchi-beni, Painting the Lips by Utamaro, Kitagawa (1753-1806), woodblock print, ukiyo-e, 36.3 x 24.8 cm, New York Public Library

The use of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) in Japanese culture has a long and rich history. From early times, it is has been referred to in songs and poems, used to dye textiles, and chosen to colour woodblock prints. Originating in… Continue reading