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Samurai Blue: A History of Indigo

Samurai Blue: A History of Indigo

Using natural Japanese Indigo extract may seem like a novel concept in the West, but it has deep traditional roots in Japan. Here are some more fascinating facts we discovered as we researched this incredible plant:

- We learned of Japanese Indigo, also called Indigo Naturalis, as an anti-inflammatory botanical from our 200 year old Japanese beauty bible. Centuries ago, samurai would wear garments dyed with Japanese Indigo. In addition to fending off snakes and mosquitos, the botanical would help heal their wounds and injuries sustained during their travels. 

- In Japanese, the rich blue shade is referred to “ai-iro”, which translates to “Indigo color” or “color of love.” It has long been of interest to color theorists, who say Indigo symbolizes wisdom, personal thought and profound insights.

- Japanese firefighters benefitted from the plant as well, and the traditional uniform was made of indigo-dyed cotton to protect against burns. Once a year there is a ceremonial festival when they still don these traditional outfits.

- Even today, Indigo blankets and clothing are traditional baby gifts, in the belief that the properties in the natural dye protect newborns from illness.

Click here to explore our Indigo Collection



Victoria Signature

Victoria Tsai
Chief Treasure Hunter

Published January 13, 2014
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