After showing what is zha-ran, how zha-ran looks like, I decided to move further to show the process of how to make tie-dye towards our young generation.
Handmade zha-ran needs a long time to produce.
The process can be repeated several times to achieve the best results, and the effects could be vary which would depend on the quality of the fabric, pattern designs, dye density, temperature and time. So each tie-dye product is unique, even if made by the same craftsperson.
Due to the lack of awareness of zha-ran among young generation, I decided in the beginning of my intervention, I need to prepare all the documents, pictures or videos to show what is Chinese tie-dye, what Chinese zha-ran looks like.
Zha-ran, a Chinese tie-dye, is one of the most traditional textile dyeing techniques which is still popular by the Bai ethnic group people in Yunnan, Southwest China. This skill appeared over 1500 years ago in China and is still used today.
In 2006, zha-ran is entitled to The First Batch of China National Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
In Dali, Yunnan province, there is a place named Zhoucheng, a small village where 99% are Bai ethnic group people who became the main producing place of Chinese tie-dyed cloth, known as ‘the living-fossil of Chinese tie-dye.’
The fabric used is normally white fabric made of cotton or linen. The dye was originally made of natural herbs ，especially with radix isatidis root （Banlangen 板蓝根 in Chinese）that produce blue colour.
Blue and white are two principal traditional colours for tie-dye in China. In Bai ethnic group, they believe white represents lucky and blue represents hope. So the locals always use tie-dyed cloth for the new-born babies, bride gowns even grave-clothes.