A Piece of Itajime Dyed Cotton: Faint, Faded, Delicate

$55.00 USD

early twentieth century
17" x 11 3/4", 43 cm x 30 cm

Shown here is a gauzy fragment of lightweight cotton cloth whose pink color was more than likely achieved by using a synthetic dye: the orange tone might be benibana or safflower dye, the reason this is presumed is the way the color is faded and lost, most explicitly seen on the lower, right-hand corner. 

The pattern dyed onto the piece is distinctive as it shows a mirror image repeat, and this distinctive feature of itajime or kyokechi dyeing can be seen on the accompanying detail photographs. 

In itajime dyeing the pattern is imprinted onto the cloth using a complicated process using hand carved boards and pressure. The technique is called kyokechi or itajime and these fragments of cloth is a classic representation of this process.

The design here shows cherry blossoms and young maple leaves, the maple leaves are rendered to give the appearance of tie dye.

With some surface abrasion, light fading and a few scuffs and nicks this is still a really lovely piece of itajime dyed cotton and one that would be great for design inspiration--or to be admired on its own.