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What is indigo dyeing?
Part 1

"Raw materials for indigo dyeing"

The indigo colour of indigo dyeing comes from a plant called Tadea indigo, which has its own pigment. There are not many plants that can be dyed indigo blue, and the plant has been valued all over the world.

 Tate indigo can be dyed raw, but the colour is light and its fastness (degree of colour fastness) is weak, and it can only be dyed during the season when it grows. The fermented indigo is called 'sukumo', which is written as 'dye the grass crown'.

 There are craftsmen specialising in the production of dye dyes, and they are called 'aishi' (indigo masters). There are only a few families that make a living as indigo dyers, and even in Tokushima, which used to be a speciality area, there are now only a few.

 Aishi begin by cultivating Tate indigo, sorting the harvested leaves and stems, placing them in a large warehouse, and then watering the vast amount of Tate indigo, turning it over and covering it with a straw mat to ferment it for approximately 100 days of hard labour. The natural fermentation raises the temperature in the storehouse, and the Tate indigo itself reaches a high temperature of around 70°C.

 The resulting product is an dye dye.

 The dye that has become a dye is no longer a shadow of its former self, but becomes like earth and gives off a distinctive odour.

 Using these precious dye dyes, the indigo dyeing process can be started for the first time.


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