A Length of Bengara Stenciled Cotton: Indigo and Iron Oxide
late nineteenth, early twentieth century
32 1/2" x 12 3/4", 82.5 cm x 32.5 cm
This absolutely beautiful length of indigo dyed cotton shows a ground of asagi iro or pale blue indigo over which is stenciled a pattern of chrysanthemums and karakusa or arabesque.
The stenciled pattern is applied directly to the cloth using an iron-oxide pigment dye which in Japan is called bengara. When applied over the pale, warm blue dyed cotton, the bengara pigment creates a wonderful, contrasting cool-warm tonal effect.
The cotton is of high quality as it appears to be hand spun, lending a genuinely old characteristic to this lovely length of old cloth.