Tsujigahana - Atsushi Ogura

About "Tsuji ga hana"

"Tsuji ga hana" is the common name for tie-died kimonos (small sleeved kimonos, kosode) produced in the time from the middle of Muromachi period (the 15th C.) until the beginning of the Edo period (the 17th C.).
In the beginning those kimonos were made of hemp, tie-died in a simple design in one color. After some time the designs became more complicated and multi-colored as new techniques evolved that allowed tie-dyeing the background and the pattern, like flowers and leaves, in different colors by tying and dyeing different parts separately over and over again.

As "Tsuji ga hana" craftsmen started dyeing not only hemp but silk as well, they became able to add subtle, refined nuances to the design. Parts that had been tied remained white and were filled with fine lines of sumi ink: flower petals, one vein of a leaf or even the traces of some insect eating the leaf. By adding color gradations and producing fine lines and shadows, delicate art expressions were born.

Hurosaki Byoubu (Otowa)

Finally, in the end of the Muromachi period (Azuchi Momoyama period 1568-1600), "Tsuji ga hana" came into perfection, the tie-dyed pattern being decorated with embroidery or imprinted with gold and silver foil.
"Tsuji ga hana" that had originally been only worn by women and young boys were now also being worn by adult men and a lot of kosode ( small sleeved kimono), haori and doubuku(both sorts of 3/4 length Japanese coats) were produced for the military commanders during the warring states period.

As for still-existing pieces of work, there are the kimonos of "Uesusgi Kenshin", "Toyotomi Hideyoshi", "Tokugawa Ieyasu" and others. "Takeda Shingen" can be seen on a portrait wearing a "Tsuji ga hana". As for females, there is a portrait of Oda Nobunaga's sister "Ichi" wearing a "Tsuji ga hana". Naturally enough,Oda Nobunaga was wearing "Tsuji ga hana".
Most people of that time, Ichi's daughters "Chacha", "Hatsu" and "Go" or "Hosokawa Garasha" were wearing "Tsuji ga hana".
When Tokugawa Ieyasu died, "Tsuji ga hana" already started to disappear from the front stage of the garment industry.

Some people think that "Tsuji ga hana" is not tie-dyeing, but another kind of dyeing in the Muromachi period. In the future the research will make progress, and we will know much more what kind of dyeing the original "Tsuji ga hana" is. And the tie-dyeing in that period is so beautiful whether we call it "Tsuji ga hana" or not.