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Chinese Batik
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                   Chinese batik
History
Batik (là rǎn 蜡染) is a wax-resist dyeing technique used on textile. Chinese Batik is also called La Ran (là rǎn 蜡染) in China. Researches show batik originates from ancient China. It was then called La Xie (là xié 腊缬). As early as in Qin (qín cháo 秦朝) and Han Dynasties (hàn cháo汉朝), people in southwestern minority regions of China, finding that wax can prevent from dyeing(rǎn 染), proficiently mastered the craft of batik. They used bees wax (là 蜡) and worm wax as material in preventing dyeing.

 

Chinese batikThere is an interesting story about how the batik was invented in Guizhou province (guì zhōu shěng 贵州省). The story relates that long, long ago, there was a girl living in a stone village called Anshun (ān shùn 安顺), now a city in Guizhou Province. She was fond of dyeing white cloth blue and purple. One day, while she was working, a bee happened to alight on her cloth. After she took away the bee, she found there was a white dot left on the cloth, which looked very pretty. Her finding led to the use of wax in dyeing.

By the time of Dong Han Dynasty (dōng hàn 东汉), the batik skill was rather mature. By Xi Jin Dynasty (xī jìn 西晋), a dozen of color batik products could be produced. In Tang Dynasty(táng cháo 唐朝), batik prevailed. The batik skill has been passed on generation after generation in the minority regions of Guizhou province and it has been spread widely across different regions.

Features
Design of traditional Guizhou batik is based on realism. The artistic language is simple, pure, straightforward and powerful. Especially, its design pattern is free from confinement of details. Bold variation and exaggeration are employed. Such variation and exaggeration are out of the simple but wide imagination and it is full of charms. Batik designs are quite rich and colorful. Most of them are taken from actual life or stories, typical of the traditional culture.Chinese batik

Dyeing Materials
Fabrics:Natural or vegetable fiber fabrics, such as cotton, linen and silk, are the ones to use for batik.
Charcoal or pencil: for making preliminary sketch.
Wax:Wax can be used from candles or beeswax.
Boiler: for melting wax.
Brass knife: to move the melted wax to fill designs.
Cold water: to dye and fix the wax.

Procedure
The main process of batik making is delicate: first draw some designs or contours of images of a flower, bird, fish or insect on a piece of white cloth, Chinese batikthen use a special brass knife to scoop melted wax to fill in those designs or contours as it hardens on the cotton cloth. The cloth is immersed completely in a jar of indigo dye bath so that the unwaxed parts take on color. The dyed cloth is boiled to melt off the wax and to leave clear patterns in white on a blue ground. Since wax is easy to crack, the dye penetrates fine cracks naturally formed in the solidified wax, leaving hair-thin blue lines on the undyed white designs and enhancing the charm of the final product.

 
Chinese Batik

Usages
Chinese batikIn ethnic areas, batik is used extensively to make clothes art quilt covers, head-scarves, belts, etc. Among the Miao nationality (miáo zú 苗族), a minority ethnic group in Southwest China, young girls have to learn to make batik, to weave, and to embroider. Custom demands that they make their own garments, from wedding dresses to funeral shrouds.
Batik may be used for pillow tops, wall hangings, place mats or scarves. Big, bold designs in bright colors are most striking.


中国蜡染

Chinese batik

      蜡染,是我国古老的民间传统纺织印染手工艺。蜡染,古称蜡,与绞缬(扎染)、夹缬(镂空印花)并称为我国古代三大印花技艺。蜡染是我国苗族古老而独特的手工绘染艺术,起源于秦汉,盛行于隋唐(公元581——907年)。从我国的染织技术开创时,蜡染就作为最古老的手工艺,称之为中华民族古文明的一部分。
      蜡染制作方法,是将白布平铺于案上,置蜡于小锅中,加温溶解为汁,用蜡刀蘸蜡汁绘于布上。一般不打样,只凭构思绘画,也不用直尺和圆规,所画的中行线、直线和方圆图形,折叠起来能吻合不差;所绘花鸟虫鱼,惟妙惟肖,栩栩如生。绘成后,投入染缸渍染,染好捞出用清水煮沸,蜡溶化后即现出白色花纹。
      在苗族地区的很多地方都流行有《蜡染歌》(古歌),代代传唱叙述着蜡染的起源的故事:有一个聪明美丽的苗族姑娘并不满足于衣服的均一色彩,总希望能在裙子上染出各种各样的花卉图案来,可是一件一件的手工Chinese batik绘制实在太麻烦,但她一时又想不出什么好办法来,终日为此闷闷不乐。一天,姑娘又看着一簇簇一丛丛的鲜花久久发楞,办法没想出来却在沉思中昏昏入睡。朦胧中有一个衣着漂亮的花仙子把她带到了一个百花园中,园里有无数的奇花异草,鸟语花香、蝶舞蜂忙。姑娘在花园中看呀看呀,看得入了迷,连蜜蜂爬满了她的衣裙也浑然不知。等她醒来一看,才知道刚才是睡着了,可是低头再看:花丛中的蜜蜂真的刚刚飞走,而且在她的衣裙上留下了斑斑点点的蜜汁和蜂蜡,很不好看。她只好把衣裙拿到存放着靛蓝的染桶中去,想重新把衣裙染一次,试图覆盖掉蜡迹。染完之后,又拿到沸水中去漂清浮色。
      当姑娘从沸水中取出衣裙的时候,奇迹出现了:深蓝色的衣裙上被蜂蜡沾过的地方出现了美丽的白花!姑娘心头一动,立即找来蜂蜡,加热熬化后用树枝在白布上画出了蜡花图案,然后放到靛蓝染液中去染色,最后用沸水熔掉蜂蜡,布面上就现出了各种各样的白花,哦!染缸中居然染出了印花布,姑娘高兴地唱起了山歌。人们听到了姑娘的歌声,纷纷来到她家听她讲百花园里的梦境、观看她染出的花裙、学习她描花绘图的技艺,大家回到自己家里之后,照着姑娘教给的方法,也都染出了花样繁多的花布。从此,蜡染技术就在苗族及与之杂居的布依、瑶族等兄弟民族之间流传开来了。Chinese batik
      蜡染工艺在我国西南少数民族地区世代相传,尤其是贵州少数民族地区,继承和发扬了传统的蜡染工艺,而且流行很广,已成为少数民族妇女生活中不可缺少的一种艺术。这里的少数民族以蜡染作主要装饰的有黄平、重安江一带和丹寨县的苗族妇女,她们的头巾、围腰、衣服、裙子、绑腿,绑腿,都是蜡染制成,其它如伞套、枕巾,饭篮盖帕、包袱、书包、背带等也都使用蜡染;安顺、普定一带的苗族妇女把蜡染花纹装饰在衣袖、衣襟和衣服前后摆的边缘,她们背孩子的蜡染背带,点染得精巧细致,除蓝白二色外,有的还加染上红、黄、绿等色,成为明快富丽的多色蜡染。

 

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