Dali Tie-dyeing

Dali Tie-dyeing is an old Chinese textile dyeing technique. It is a technology of printing flower patterns on cloth. This method appeared in the 3rd to 4th century in China and is still used today. Bright colors, an unlimited variety of patterns and color combinations, and the simplicity of the techniques contribute to its enduring appeal. Nowadays this traditional technique is still popular in Zhoucheng Village, Dali City, in Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture and other some places . The Zhoucheng, Bai Nationality tie-dyeing technique is the most famous and was praised as ‘the Land for National Tie-dye' by the Culture Administration.

Dali Tie-dyeing

The tie-dyed materials are usually are white cotton cloth or a blended fabric of cotton and flax, and the dye is mainly made from indigo plants. The main tools used are jars and sticks. There are many kinds of Bai tie-dyed items, using natural patterns with lucky meanings. The finished products are aesthetically valuable and pleasing to consumers both at home and abroad. Dali Bai tie-dye shows strong folk art styles and Bai customs and taste.

Just as the name suggests, the process of Tie-dyeing is divided into "tie" and "dye". Tie refers to making the cloth into certain shapes by pinching, creasing and flanging it according to the flower patterns. They are then sew or tie tightly together to make a bunch of knots. The aim of tying the knots is to dye the untied part while retaining the original color of the knotted parts. The tighter the knots are tied, the better the effect of the color printing will be achieved. To make the dye, woad leaves are collected and fermented in a pit until they are indigo in color. White cloth is tied and sewn into various patterns by hand and then dyed. After the cloth is dried and rinsed, designs of bees, butterflies, plum blossoms, fish, or insects appear with an artistic effect that cannot be achieved by painting.

Tie-dyeing in Dali Zhoucheng Town

The concept behind tie-dyeing is to restrict the dye from reaching certain areas of the cloth; this is achieved through the use of knots, threads, rocks, sticks and rubber bands. The color of the parts the dye reaches changes but the restricted parts stay untouched, giving a pleasant color contrast.

However, with the rapid increase of industrialization, Tie-dyeing, the time-honored handicraft of the Bai ethnic group, are in danger of dying out. So, there are many problems need to be solved, such as the disappearance of the original folk features, the pollution problem and the lack of dye materials. Only by solving these problems can the development of Dali traditional tie-dyeing be promoted.

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