Exhibitions/ Art Object

Dye-Patterned Silk

17th century
Silk (clamp resist, dyed)
Mount (a): 96 x 44 in. (243.8 x 111.8 cm) Overall (b): 87 1/2 x 35 1/2 in. (222.3 x 90.2 cm) Overall (c): 86 x 10 in. (218.4 x 25.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1975
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 899
This multicolored Indian silk made its way to China, where it was used to line the embroidered Chinese coverlet with the dragon center. The pattern was produced by clamp-resist dying—an ingenious technique for producing polychrome textiles. A folded cloth is tightly pressed and clamped between pairs of wooden blocks carved with the desired decorative pattern. Then the whole unit is immersed in a dye bath. Drilled channels in the blocks enable dye to flow into selected areas. Channels for different colors allow dyes to be applied sequentially, as openings are sealed or unsealed for each hue.
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