Shika no fune Journal

Spring Exhibition - Ubai making in Tsukigase, the eastern part of Nara

Do you know Ubai?
It is a ume plum covered with soot and looks as black as a crow.


In the 8th century, Japanese mission to Tang Dynasty of China
brought herbal medicine, Ubai to Japan for the first time.

Ubai is still used as an herbal medicine today, meanwhile it has been widely used
as a colour intensifier for textile dyeing, including safflower dyeing in Japan

Ubai enhances beautiful colours of dyed cloth, washi paper and lipsticks.

Tsukigase is located in the eastern part of Nara City, is famous for.Ume plum trees.

In spring, Tsukigase Ume Plum Valley is covered with ume blossoms.

They were originally planted for Ubai, and it is used to be more precious than rice.

Many people made Ubai for their living at that time until chemically synthetic dye spread.

Now Mr. Nakanishi is the only person to obtain Ubai making skills
and contribute natural dyeing in Japan.

He will keep making Ubai in his studio at Tsukigase village for dyers.

In this exhibition, we introduce this traditional culture and craftsman's thought
with tools owned by Mr. Nakanishi as well as his photos and Tsukigase's scenery.

烏梅展示 入口.jpg


After this exhibition, the exhibited tools support Mr. Nakanishi's Ubai making,
starting from July every year.

Exhibition continues until May 27th 2018.


烏梅 煤.jpg

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