Dong girls at window
The process of creating the cloth is painstaking and exacting. The raw cotton is harvested from Dong farmland, cleaned, and woven into cloth. The Dong women mix indigo plants with lime water to make dyestuff. The cloth is dyed, then washed. After the cloth dries, it is again dyed and washed. This process may be repeated three or four times before the color is deemed to be perfect. Then persimmon peels and chestnut shells are pounded into liquid and Ardisia crenata is added to the juice, again the cloth is dyed, and a deep blue with radiant rosy accents is achieved. After again drying, the cloth will be folded, coated with egg white and intermittently beaten with a mallet over the course of two weeks until the cloth shines.
© Kieron Nelson 2008 "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved