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Batik and Botanic Dyes
The practice of batik using botanic dyes from the indigo plant is some 2,000 years old and was brought to Guizhou Province in southwestern China by members of the Miao and Dong ethnic groups. At least three species of the flowering indigo plant cultivated in Guizhou provide a colorfast dye (dye that does not bleed) used for clothing and household textiles. Patterns are applied to undyed cloth using liquid beeswax, and when the cloth is submerged in dye, the waxed parts remain white while unwaxed parts absorb the color. In this video from the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival program “China: Tradition and the Art of Living,” Liang Xiaoying (梁晓英), a student of the ancient art of batik dyeing and a performer with the Leishan Miao Music and Dance Group, describes the processes of making batik. Her teacher, master dyer Yang Wenbin (杨文斌), discusses the importance of keeping alive these traditional practices. More on batik using botanic dyes: Learn more about “China: Tradition and the Art of Living”: Editing: Jackson Harvey [Catalog No. CFV11251; © 2019 Smithsonian Institution]
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3 min 15 sec
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