Saiun-do Kyoto Nihonga Mineral Pigment Set, Red Camellia


Following our comprehensive set of Japanese mineral pigments (see more information regarding the background company and technical information here), we are pleased to offer 13 mineral pigments devised specifically to paint Japanese red camellias.

Possibly one of the most iconic flowers, distinctly Japanese, but revered all around the world for its symmetrical perfection, purity of colour, formality and poise. Everything about it seems to be geared for beauty. Unsurprisingly then that it should be Coco Chanel's favourite flower and now adopted as the brands motif. 

In Japan, this native tree, Tsubaki, has a long history and the use of Camellia seed oil  by the Jomon people dates back 2,300 years. It may not be obvious that later on, in the heyday of the Samurai, Top-dog Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada, a man of military achievements, was also a great admirer of Camellias. The royal warrant sealed the fate of the flower which became widely popular amongst feudal lords, who alongside blood and battle, cultivated more genteel interests including floristry. The 17th and 18th century saw the development of hundreds of varieties, and much ink and paint was spilled over painting and poetry dedicated to the flower.

Still today the Camellia Japonica, much as cherry blossoms, retains a strong symbolic power, association to the sacred and divine and remains the flower of choice for important celebrations such as marriage. Indeed Camellia Japonica given its long-life, has imparted the flower with meaning of longevity and eternal youth.

Of course there is no strict prescription for the use of this set, only a desire to give inspiration, but the set colours will lend themselves to other subject matters where red is the dominating feeling: roses, poppies, peonies, dahlias, even abstraction are all possible suggestions.

This set includes a gold pigment which can serve for the background, much like a  religious icon or more aptly a Japanese screen. 

To transform the powdered pigments into usable paints, mix these with the nikawa liquid to your preferred consistency. Consider that preparing your paints is as much a part of the Nihonga practice and artists' ritual as the painting itself. To mix pigments into paint please purchase this this gelatine glue-based binder available here. We also stock a number of ceramic mixing palettes to use with.

A beautiful video of how these pigments could be used can be viewed on one of our customer's Youtube channel here and here, and you can read our full interview here. (please note this is video is not a formal instruction video and should not be interpreted as such)

Ingredients: Suihi-enogu, gofun or calcium carbonate (made from crushed shells) based and mixed with pigment. Individual recipes are the makers secret and are both natural or synthetic in origin, varying according to colour. 
Included: 13 colours in presentation box, gift-wrapped.
Binder sold separately - please go here to purchase.
Vegetarian: yes
Vegan: No (some pigments contain gofun which is derived from shells)
Made in Japan

Here pictured is David Bowie at the Saiun-do shop (photograph by Masayoshi Sukita taken in 1980). 

The camellias depicted are taken from:
"Hanakurabe", 1661-1703, Zakkaen Bunko
17th century scroll 
One Hundred Camellias Scroll, 
17th century attributed to Kanō Sanraku (1559-1635)