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Chintz process samples

Chintz process samples

  • Place of origin:

    Coromandel Coast (made)

  • Date:

    early 20th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cotton, mordant- and resist-dyed using alum, iron, chay root, wax, indigo and possibly turmeric

  • Credit Line:

    Given by W.S. Hadaway, Esq.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Process samples show how objects are made by illustrating the different stages of production with unfinished examples. This group of eight process samples shows various stages in the making of chintz.

Chintz is made by a combination of mordant and resist-dyeing cotton. First the design is stenciled onto the cloth with charcoal. Then, alum and iron mordants are applied to the cloth using a kalam (a bamboo pen). Mordants are chemicals that react with dyes to change their shade and make them fast. The cotton is then submerged in a dye bath of chay root, a natural red dye from the Coromandel Coast. The chay reacts with the alum mordant to produce red, and with the iron mordant to produce black. More alum mordant is applied, and the cloth dipped in successive chay dye baths to add different shades of red to new areas. Once all the desired red shades have been acheived, the whole cloth is covered in beeswax excepting those areas that are to be dyed blue. Then the cloth is dipped into an indigo dye bath. The wax resists the dye, and protects the rest of the cloth. Once the wax has been removed, yellow dye can be applied directly over top of the blue areas to produce green.

Making chintz involves many additional stages in which the cloth is pre-treated, washed and bleached in between each colour. Chintz makers from the Coromandel Coast were particularly admired for the brilliance of their colours and the delicacy of their designs.

Physical description

Eight cotton swatch process samples illustrating the stages of chintz production using the motif of a vase of flowers.

Place of Origin

Coromandel Coast (made)


early 20th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Cotton, mordant- and resist-dyed using alum, iron, chay root, wax, indigo and possibly turmeric


Height: 49.5 cm, Width: 42 cm, Length: 19 in approx, Width: 16 in approx.

Descriptive line

Eight process samples illustrating various stages in chintz production, Coromandel Coast, early 20th century

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

Swallow, Deborah and John Guy eds. Arts of India: 1550-1900. text by Rosemary Crill, John Guy, Veronica Murphy, Susan Stronge and Deborah Swallow. London : V&A Publications, 1990. 240 p., ill. ISBN 1851770224
Crill, Rosemary Chintz: Indian Textiles for the West. London: V&A Publications, 2008. p.12-13
Crill, Rosemary ed. The Fabric of India. Text by Rosemary Crill, Steven Cohen and Divia Patel. London: V&A Publications, 2015. p. 48-49, ill.


Cotton; Mordant; Chay; Indigo; Wax


Dyeing; Mordanting

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Vase




South & South East Asia Collection

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