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Wax-resist tools for fabric dyeing

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  • Ellen Badgley
    Dharma Trading now has Indonesian Tjaps available for batiking: http://dharmatrading.com/tjaps/copper.html These are copper implements that are dipped in hot
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 7, 2007
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      Dharma Trading now has Indonesian Tjaps available for batiking:

      http://dharmatrading.com/tjaps/copper.html

      These are copper implements that are dipped in hot wax and stamped on
      cloth to create a wax resist. A very similar technique was used in
      ancient Japan to produce resist-dyed textiles: there are quite a few
      examples of this (called roketsu) in the Shoso-in repository at the
      Todaiji in Nara, and the technique is today called rozome or
      roketsu-zome, although it does not seem to have been popular in the
      Heian period.
      I can't find good online images, but two of the best examples of this
      from the Shosoin are a banner with a design of deer under a tree, and
      a man's court robe (ho) with a repeating design of crosshatching,
      small birds and flowers that was done in three separate stages with
      different colors. It is quite beautiful and is a lot "flashier" than
      we tend to expect from men's court clothing.
      A fragmentary example is at
      http://www.narahaku.go.jp/exhib/2005toku/shosoin/shosoin-10e.htm.
      This appears to have been painted instead of stamped.
      (The main Shosoin site is at http://shosoin.kunaicho.go.jp/ -- if you
      click on the third item on the right a slide show will open.)

      A guide to modern roketsu-zome is here:
      http://blue_moon.typepad.com/blue_lotus/2006/08/roketsuzome.html
      http://www.roketsu.com/modules/pico/index.php?content_id=1
      This example involves painting or stamping hot beeswax onto cloth,
      then dyeing it and ironing it to remove the wax.

      (Modern Indonesian batik is rather "crackly" because that's the
      desired look: this comes from a mixture of waxes so that the wax is a
      bit brittle and cracks when it's cool. The Nara-period examples I've
      seen don't seem to have this aspect, suggesting that a softer wax must
      have been used. Today this would be done with straight beeswax. I
      wonder if that's what was used in period?)

      - Abe Akirakeiko
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