Kata-yuzen is a Kyoto yuzen dyeing method that sometimes requires as many as 100 stencils to complete a bolt of kimono fabric. The development of this method saved dyers much time and enabled mass production. The most skill-intensive task is the carving of the washi paper to create the stencils. The elaborate designs and sharp lines that are difficult to attain by hand are captivating. Discover how the Kata-yuzen techniques were refined through the Kyotoites passionate pursuit of stunning kimono.
The yuzen dyeing method was introduced to Japan from the continent in the 8th century. Tradition has it that hand painted yuzen was first made by the artist Miyazaki Yuzensai of Kyoto. Many colors are used and yuzen dyeing used to dye kimonos in picturesque designs developed with the cultural life of Kyoto townspeople. In modern times craftsmen developed Utsushi-yuzen (tracing) in which a yuzen design is dyed using paper patterns. Yuzen dyeing is used for kimonos, coats and haori (short coats worn with formal kimonos), and these days is produced in the cities of Kyoto and Uji, part of greater Kyoto. Kyo-yuzen dyeing was designated a traditional craft in 1976.