Blue calico began in the Han and Jin Dynasties, developed in the Song and Yuan Dynasties, and prospered in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is commonly known as the "lime embossing blue cloth" and "embossing blue cloth". It is a traditional folk craft in China and has a history of printing and dyeing for thousands of years. The ancient book "The Record of Two Instruments" records: "Xie is invented between the Qin and Han Dynasties." Xie refers to figured silk fabrics. In the Song Dynasty, the process of making blue calico became more mature. In the Yuan Dynasty, Huang Daopo's cotton spinning skills spread to Jiangnan area, laying the foundation for the heyday of the blue calico in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. In the Ming Dynasty there was a dyeing bureau, which basically monopolized the weaving and dyeing industry. Until the Qing Dynasty, folk dyeing workshops began to emerge.
Wuzhen is one of the origins of blue calico. In the old days, there were dozens of dyeing workshops, and Dongzha’s dyeing workshop therefore got its name. In modern times, Songjiang, Yangzhou, Chongde, Yueqing, and other cities had become important production bases of blue calico. Now Tongxiang, Wuzhen and Jiangsu Nantong are still producing blue calico.
The raw materials of blue calico including native cloth and dyes are all from the countryside, and the crafts are from the folk. In old days, every household in rural areas in Zhejiang used blue calico to make curtains, headscarves, aprons, bags, bed-curtains , tablecloths, etc.. The production processes of blue calico include seven steps: pattern design, pattern engraving, stenciling, embossing, dyeing, leveling and drying.
The cloth for blue calico is made of cotton through three processes of ginning, spinning, and weaving. The dyeing material is extracted from bluegrass. Bluegrass and indigo grass are sowed in spring and reaped in autumn. Immersing their leaves in the pool for a few days, then removing the rotten branches and mixing lime or sea clam powder to neutralize, finally the dye will precipitate like soil, commonly known as "dried indigo".
The method of dyeing blue calico is paste dyeing, and the raw materials of the paste are lime and soybean powder in a ratio of 1:1. The stencil pattern is made of mulberry paper coated with persimmon paint. Products made by blue calico include clothes, hats and slippers.
Sales location: Xizha Indigo Fabric Workshop, Dongzha Hongyuantai Dyeing WorkshopKeyword:souvenirs, blue calico