The Art of Sym­me­try

China Scenic - - Heritage - By Yin Yi Pho­to­graphs by

Ji­axie is an an­cient Chi­nese tech­nique of print­ing and dye­ing of tex­tiles us­ing carved wooden print­ing blocks. Dated back to Qin and Han around 2,000 years ago, it reached the peak of its pop­u­lar­ity dur­ing the Tang Dy­nasty (618– 907) and de­clined at the end of the Song (ap­prox­i­mately the mid­dle of 13th Cen­tury). Through­out its long his­tory it en­joyed great pop­u­lar­ity amongst the Chi­nese, but now al­most all traces of it are gone from the life of the mod­ern in­hab­i­tants of China, apart from ac­counts in the his­tory books. Ji­axie, how­ever, is stub­bornly cling­ing on to life in parts of Jiangsu and Zhe­jiang prov­inces, through the ef­forts of peo­ple who are spar­ing no ef­fort to en­sure that the unique beauty of ji­axie does not van­ish for­ever.

Re­cre­at­ing the Tang Ji­axie

The ji­axie we see to­day are com­monly indigo and white; how­ever, they were multi-col­ored dur­ing the Tang Dy­nasty (618907). The pic­tures be­low show us the Tang print­ing blocks that were used to pro­duce multi-col­ored ji­axie ; how­ever, they are ac­tu­ally repli­cas created re­cently. Nowa­days in China, there are more and more ji­axie fans who wish to recre­ate this van­ished an­cient ji­axie type.

Through a Mil­len­nium

pro­ceed smoothly.

Once the carv­ing is done, the crafts­man may also make rub­bings of the pat­tern he carved in, to cre­ate a new blue­print to bet­ter bring it in line with the next panel. Slowly, all the pan­els are carved out and brought to­gether as one set, un­til even­tu­ally they are ready to pro­duce the fi­nal prod­uct.

There is an as­pect to Wu Yuanxin, the Di­rec­tor the beauty of ji­axie that of Nan­tong Blue Cloth can­not be over­looked — a Mu­seum, has made an psy­cho­log­i­cal rea­son that at­tempt to pro­duce col­made this art form en­dure or­ful ji­axie us­ing mod­ern

and be passed down the tech­niques rather than an­cient one — he carved gen­er­a­tions for a thou­sand a hol­lowed-out print­ing years. The dyed pat­terns are block that has tiny, hid­den al­ways sym­met­ric, and this tun­nels. By in­ject­ing sym­me­try, hence du­al­ity indigo and red dyes into

com­bined with unity, fits dif­fer­ent tun­nels, he can pro­duce a piece of ji­axie per­fectly the role of a symwith mul­ti­ple col­ors. bol of mar­i­tal har­mony and hap­pi­ness. A blan­ket printed with ji­axie pat­terns is spread on the bed of the newly-weds sym­bol­izes both mar­i­tal bliss of the new cou­ple and also the wishes of the par­ents — that the cou­ple, like two halves of a sym­met­ri­cal pat­tern, never part.

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