Katazome

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Summer Kimono (yukata, early 19th century) with Illustrations of Hizakurige ("Shank's Mare"), an 1802 novel by Jippensha Ikku: katazome on plain-weave cotton fabric with silk crepe lining (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

Katazome (型染め) is a Japanese method of dyeing fabrics using a resist paste applied through a stencil. With this kind of resist dyeing, a rice flour mixture is applied using a brush or a tool such as a palette knife. Pigment is added by hand-painting, immersion or both. Where the paste mixture covers and permeates the cloth, dye applied later will not penetrate.

Katazome on thin fabrics shows a pattern through to the back; on thicker or more tightly woven fabrics, the reverse side is a solid color, usually indigo blue for cotton fabrics. Futon covers made from multiple panels of fabric, if the stencils are properly placed and the panels joined carefully, exhibit a pleasing over-all pattern in addition to the elements cut into the stencil.

One attraction of katazome was that it provided an inexpensive way for over-all patterns similar to expensive woven brocades to be achieved on cotton. As with many everyday crafts of Japan it developed into a respected art form of its own.

Besides cotton, katazome has been used to decorate linen, silk and fabrics that are all or partially synthetic.

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