Miao Batik: the blue wax printing

Batik fabric making, which uses wax to dye cloth in intricate patterns, is widespread throughout China and Southeast Asia. But batik has also been a part of Miao culture for about 2,000 years, and is listed as one of China’s Intangible Cultural Heritages.

History

According to the Book of Later Han, which covers the Eastern Han period from 25 to 220 AD, ancestors of the Miao people in southwestern China already mastered the batik craft by the first century.

Nowadays the tradition of batik is still practised by the minority groups who live mainly in Yunnan and Guizhou provinces in south western China.

Production Process

Hemp and cotton is waxed usually with beeswax and dyed with a strong natural indigo to produce a very deep blue. Indigo dyeing is widespread throughout the area and there is great expertise in producing the indigo paste from the leaves, and dyeing the cloth.

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