DALI

DALI

Visiting Dali, Guizhou for the first time in the Fall we watched as the summer harvest rolled in - covering every available surface in the village to dry and sort what was grown. This was also one of the times of year the green indigo leaves were ready to begin their radical transformation to an intensely blue dye pigment. The leaves are soaked in water for a number of days until they begin to ferment. You can see the electric ice blue shade the water begins to turn at first. After the leaves ferment the dye goes through a number of stages before it become the living, semi-mystical indigo bath. There are many rules governing making indigo dye in this region - only women may start the indigo mother, and only odd-number days are considered auspicious for starting the dye, amongst other beliefs about coaxing the mercurial blue out of the leaves. The baths are kept year-round and dying takes place at multiple points of the year. Blue fabric hangs drying from home balconies after it has been dipped once again to deepen the color. 

DALI

DALI

SAIWUSU

SAIWUSU

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