Miyazaki Yuzensai (宮崎友禅斎)

Yuzensai MIYAZAKI was a painter of folding fan who was active in Kyoto during early to mid Edo period. He was good at Kacho-ga (painting of flowers and birds) as well as portraits such as those of hime (a princess) appears in the "Tale of Genji" and was also well known as the inventor of Yuzen. His personal history is unknown other than the fact that he was a Buddhist monk.

Yuzensai resided in front of Chion-in Temple in Kyoto, though it is unknown from when, called himself 'Yuzen,' painted the famous scene of the Tale of Genji vividly on folding fans in the era of Tenna and won a reputation since these paintings were praised by connoisseurs.

As he was particularly familiar with pigments thanks to his occupation as a painter of folding fans, he created nouvelle kosode (a kimono with short sleeves worn as underclothing by the upper classes) with the use of dyestuff which was made into pigments as well as a technique which involved freely drawing refined and brilliant patterns of ogi-e (fan painting).

After having established his reputation, he went to Kanazawa in 1712 by the invitation of Maeda clan, the lord of the Kaga Domain, and died there after striving for the development of Kaga Yuzen.

In the Genroku era, Yuzensai, who was then a painter of brilliant and colorful Kacho-ga and portraits, hit on while studying dyestuff the idea of hand-written dyeing that employs the technique of painting and completed the original model of Yuzen-zome (one of the dyeing process). Thereafter, Yuzensai moved to Kanazawa and instructed the technique of Yuzen-zome. As a result, 'Kyo-Yuzen' of which strong point is highly abstract patterns as well as painting-like 'Kaga Yuzen' were created.

it is said that Yuzen-zome was welcomed by town people, who were then banned from using luxurious cloths and gold/silver leaf by Shashi kinshirei (Ordinance for prohibiting luxury), as a thing that satisfies their desire for charming clothing. Reflecting the prevailing current of that time, the patterns which Yuzen painted were free and gorgeous. Even at present, his favorite patterns are called 'Yuzen Pattern' and Kyo-Yuzen is inheriting them.

[Original Japanese]