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Blue Calico

One of China's most popular and enduring styles is the blue and white printed calico from the towns of the lower Yangzi River. First worn by local farmers and fishermen, its deep blue color, comfortable, natural feel, and charming traditional patterns have kept it popular, and It is famous for its handmade printing and dying process,concise and simple desigh and bright and concordant coloreven among the urban sophisticates of modern China. Much of it is produced in the city of Nantong near the mouth of the Yangzi river, but it is sold and worn all over the province.

Nantong is on the north of the Changjiang River with the Yellow Sea on the east .The soil and climate are especially suitable for cotton planting.From Ming dynasty,weaving technology has been developed here,At the beginning of Qing dynasty people begin using indigo as a coloring matter to make blue calico. 

Its main process inclues stencil carving,starch covering and indigo dying. It looks like batik, but its stencil pattens are filled with starch of lime and soybean flour insdead of wax. 

Nantong style blue calico is made by hand using centuries old techniques. The actual process is fairly simple, and uses all natural materials. An artist draws the pattern on paper, then cuts it out using a razor to make a stencil. Once the stencil has been coated in wax to make it more durable, the dyeing process can begin. The blue and white designs of the calico are created by protecting certain parts of the cloth from the dye by coating them with wax. The waxy coating is actually a mush made from yellow soybeans - not only traditional, but also environmentally friendly! The stencil is laid on top of the uncolored fabric, and artisans "paint" the coating onto the cloth through the stencil, so that certain parts of the fabric are covered with the waxy paste. Once the coating has dried, the cloth is then dyed. The deep, rich blue of Nantong calico comes from natural dye made from the indigo plant. Once it has been dyed and dried, the wax is scraped off, revealing the beautiful pattern beneath!

From then on, local people began to dress themseves in blue calico cloth for beauty. They make clothes, bedsheets,a nd pillowcases out of the blue calico. 

Folk artists created many kinds of patterns that represent goodness, luck and good wishes. The pattern mainly consists of plants and animals, and intersects with blue and white color. This forma a kind of special folk style. 

Nantong blue calico has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years among both Chinese and foreigners. While it has a very "Chinese" and traditional folk look, it looks natural in modern clothing styles in a way that many other folk fabrics do not. Nantong calico comes in a range of different patterns which make it well suited to a wide array of different uses. The largest and most complicated patterns, incorporating pictures and large designs make beautiful and distinctive wall hangings. These large designs often use traditional folk motifs meant to evoke wishes for health and happiness. 

More restrained, simple patterns make interesting yet elegant clothing, such as skirts or light jackets. Blue calico also makes charming purses, handbags, and wallets. You can also buy fabric by the meter very inexpensively and either have it tailored to your specifications or bring it back home.

In order to preserve and develope this art, Nantong Blue Calico Art Gallery was set up in 1997 near Hao River, Nantong one thousand antique blue calicos and drawings were collected here.Also traditianal hand-making process is shown in the art gallry. It is a nice place for you to know this ancient Chinese handictaft.

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