Zoucheng: Zha-ran production

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In Zoucheng, our lovely guide took us to visit 3 families who were producing zha-ran, or stitch-resist tie-dye. Her English was minimal, so I wasn’t able to ask much about the process. However, I share my photos and observations for those of you who have an interest in the process.

Wet processes and drying racks were scattered around household courtyards, with large indigo-stained vats much in evidence.

21 Dec Dali - 147Patterns to be stitched and bound were stencilled onto the white fabric:

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Plastic stencils:

21 Dec Dali - 16221 Dec Dali - 160 21 Dec Dali - 170Cloth with patterns stencilled onto it:

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Stitching, gathering and binding the designs. The gathered and bound areas will resist the dye and so remain white after dyeing.

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Design stitched and gathered tightly:

21 Dec Dali - 146Probably the bound cotton was being mordanted:
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Leaves of the indigo plant are fermented to create the dye.

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Dye pot:
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Basket is perhaps used to aerate the indigo vat:21 Dec Dali - 017

Some kind of boiler or warmer:

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The bound fabric after dyeing in indigo:

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Unpicking the binding threads to reveal the areas reserved white:21 Dec Dali - 062

Unbound cloth:

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A final wash?

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I’m guessing this is for spinning out excess water?

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Proudly displaying her family’s finished product:
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One household was producing yardage, and measuring & folding it in the courtyard:
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Yardage ready for market:21 Dec Dali - 198

Some pieces, such as table cloths, had machine-stitched couched outlines added in white to accentuate parts of the design:
21 Dec Dali - 135See more completed pieces at Zhoucheng: Zha-ran Tie-dye

2 thoughts on “Zoucheng: Zha-ran production

  1. Great to see all the photos Wendy. Amazing how they all work together doing their particular part of the process.

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