“What are the possibilities for ‘Beni’ vermillion red, a color that irradiates a fascinating beauty, and for the Isehan store, with its status as Japan’s only Beni shop today?
Beni is not only used as decoration, but as a good omen that symbolizes life, and has given color to the turning points in the lives of people for centuries. In this exhibit, Beni, symbolizing beauty in the Edo period, has transformed into a new entity at the hands of contemporary artist Noritaka Tatehana. What were the implications of the exhibit for Isehan, the foremost Beni shop in Japan, established a long time ago?
A new appearance for ‘Beni’ by Mr. Tatehana, merging time periods.
Through the exhibit, I was able to discover new aspects of Beni and its future pos-sibilities.
In this exhibit, Mr. Tatehana directed production of pieces using Beni from Isehan’s main store. Notably, heel-less shoes are of outstanding quality, displaying an iridescent color that has been considered difficult to produce. What did you feel when you saw works that reflected the future of Beni, that were not situated nei-ther in the past nor in the present? “I was very surprised. I never thought iridescent colors could be achieved so intensely on leather. And not in a small way like before, but in heel-less shoes. I was surprised by the power and presence of the work, expressed in an entirely new way. I think it was a great experience.” The reason for the alluring shimmer of Beni has not yet been made clear in tests of high quality materials. People are fascinated by Beni, including its mysterious appearance.
Iridescent color is a test of good quality red color, and the color changes with the user.
The appeal of Beni is that you feel a new impression every time you see the color, even if you are doing something that hasn’t changed in a long time.
While searching for the new possibilities of Beni, the main store of Isehan is prepared to continue the tradi-tion of being Japan’s only Beni shop. “It could be said that the ultimate Beni color had already been achieved in the Edo period, and these are not colors that can be produced reliably even in modern times. Artisans keep looking for fascinating colors that have remained unchanged for 400 years. Even though at that time this art form had achieved perfection, I think it is our role to continue to pass on the original charm while preserving its value, instead of merely considering it as an ancient art form. By taking this approach, I think people of all ages will always feel the value of Beni as a new thing.” At first glance, it is simple, but has many sides to it. I want them to feel the mysterious allure of Beni in the ‘EDO TOKYO RETHINK EXPO’.