A Complex Katazome Fragment: Resist Dyed Butterfly
ca. late nineteenth century
24" x 14", 61 cm x 35.5 cm
This exceptional fragment of katazome dyed cotton is a gem--and a visual treasure.
This cloth was dyed using a method whereby rice paste and stencils controlled the resist application to cloth, and, as you can see by the dense grid of color and tone on this piece of cotton, whoever dyed this cloth was a master of the katazome method of dyeing.
Obvious is the central image of a stylized butterfly. This fanciful image was resisted throughout the complex process of dyeing the background, which was done in several layers and stages of dyeing.
The background pattern is one of interlocking squares that have been colored in orange, dyed with safflower or benibana. In the interstices we see a stylized flower form composed of small dots.
Inside the squares there is what appears to be a tone-on-tone, highly stylized phoenix, so the overall pattern is lush, complex, masterful and dense. A perfect foil for the "empty" image of the butterfly which is prominently placed.
You will notice insignificant bits of loss to the proper right edge, but overall this fragment is in fine shape.
Just stunning. And very recommended for its technical mastery and beauty.