With more than 500 glorious photographs as well as specially commissioned drawings that provide close-ups on patterns and techniques, this book visits those places where the ancient blue-dye traditions still survive and indigo is part of the fabric of everyday life.The process involves the same steps the world over: cultivation or wild harvesting of the plant, extraction of the pigment, preparation of the dye bath, and dyeing of the cloth or yarn. The weaver, tailor or embroiderer then transform the dyed cloth into garments of sublime beauty. The journey follows the blue thread that links Japan to Central America via southern China, India and Mali. It transports the reader into the realms of botany and chemistry, of world exploration, commerce and the slave trade, of cultural identity, medicine, folk beliefs, handcrafts and globalization, the universality of techniques and the particularity of fashions.
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