photo Block print dyeing


In block print dyeing (mokuhanzome), a brush is used to apply dye to wooden blocks with designs carved into them.
The blocks are then placed on the fabric and struck with a hammer to transfer the design. Although the designs of the individual blocks are simple, they can be arranged to create larger patterns.
The complicated patterns and color variations produced by simple repeating elements are central to the appeal of block print dyed fabrics.


  • 1.A wooden block with the desired design is selected.
  • 2.An outline of the design is drawn on the fabric with the blue dye of the Asiatic dayflower (aobana), which will be washed out later.
  • 3.Dye is applied to a wooden block, which is held over the design outline and struck with a hammer to transfer the dye to the cloth.
  • 4.The patterns are covered with paste resist, and the ground of the fabric is dyed a base color. After steaming, the finished fabric is washed in water.
  • Reference: Nihon Kōgeikai Higashi Nihon Shibu (Japan Kōgei Association Eastern Branch), ed., Dentō kōgei-tte nani? – miru, shiru, tanoshimu gaido bukku (What Are Traditional Crafts? –A Guidebook to Seeing, Learning, and Enjoying). Unsodo, 2013.