A Length of Itajime Dyed Cotton: Carved Boards Creating Patterns

$45.00 USD

early twentieth century
26 1/2" x 13", 67 cm x 33 cm

This is a length of itajime dyed cotton.

 is a laborious and ingenious dyeing process using hand carved wooden boards: a full bolt of cloth is clamped under great pressure between the boards. A tall stack contains the entire bolt which is set in between all the boards. The stack holding the cloth is secured and is then lowered into a dye bath: the parts of cloth that are highly pressurized by the raised parts of the boards resist dye.

Sometimes boards are carved and fitted with drilled holes which let dye in in very specific areas however in the case of the one offered here, boards are carved in relief and in sets of mirror-image.  These relief carved boards would be clamped face-to-face and the raised areas would meet when clamped, and would resist dye.

This particular length shows a pattern of chidori or plovers and stylized water.  The color is a rich orange tone which is more than likely a synthetic dye that is giving the impression of a traditional dyestuff, benibana or safflower. There are some fairly noticeable areas of light fading and faint discoloration on the horizontal areas where the cloth was folded.

This is a very good example of itajime dyeing albeit with some condition issues where fading is concerned.

A Length of Itajime Dyed Cotton: Carved Boards Creating Patterns