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Length of cotton

Length of cotton

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1970 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stencil-resist dyed cotton

  • Credit Line:

    Addis Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Blue and white cottons such as this originated in rural areas of China, away from the urban mainstream. Resist-dyed textiles come from several provinces, their patterns being produced by covering a portion of the cotton with a substance that resists the liquid colouring matter when the cloth is immersed in the dye bath. When the resist is washed off, the design is revealed in white against a blue ground. This piece was produced by the paste-resist method, largely used by the Han Chinese ethnic group and at one time widespread - perhaps more so than wax resist.

Physical description

Loom width of cotton, stencil resisted on one side only with floral sprigs in white against a blue ground. The resisting substance is likely to have been bean paste as used by Han people living in southwestern China.

Place of Origin

China (made)


ca.1970 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Stencil-resist dyed cotton


Length: 166 cm, Width: 86 cm

Object history note

These blue and white cotton pieces (FE.97 to O-1983) were loosely wrapped in paper from the Peking Arts and Crafts Shop and it may be that all of them were purchased there rather than in the areas of manufacture.

Registered File number 1965/3344.

Descriptive line

Loom width, stencil-resist dyed cotton, China, ca. 1970

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Wilson, Verity, 'A Diplomat's Collection: The Chinese Textiles of Sir John Addis' in Arts of Asia volume 33, number 2, 2003, pp.90-101, plate 17

Labels and date

This length of cotton was decorated using stencils. A paste made from beans was pushed through the stencil and the cloth was then immersed in dye. The dye does not penetrate the paste areas. It only colours the background. When the paste is removed the pattern shows up white against the blue ground. Cotton with small-scale patterns was used to make children's clothes. []


Cotton (textile)



Subjects depicted

Floral patterns




East Asia Collection

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