A Short Piece of Itajime Dyed Cotton: Carved Wood Blocks
early twentieth century
23 1/2" x 12 3/4", 59.5 cm x 32.5 cm
This short length of lovely cotton is dyed in the itajime or kyoukech imethod, a resist dye technique which uses carved boards and applied pressure to resist the cloth in order to produce patterns. Read more about this method of patterning cloth on our blog, here.
This fragment of cloth shows a complex repeat pattern of cherry blossoms floating in a stream rendered in mirror image: this mirroring effect is due to the way that the cloth is boards are positioned when clamping the cloth. In this fragment, just between the mirrored images, you can see a gap of sorts: it is here the cloth has been folded as it is interleaved between the carved boards.
The red color of the cloth is likely the result of synthetic dye, and this red color was often used in early twentieth century kyoukechi or itajime dyed cottons.