photo Mokuhan-zome


In this technique, a brush is used to apply dye to wooden blocks with designs carved into them. You place the blocks on the fabric and pound them with a hammer to transfer the design. Each individual block has a simple design, but they can be arranged in various ways to create larger overall patterns.

Did you know?

The amazing thing about mokuhan-zome is that even with a single repeated design, it is possible to create color gradations or combine blocks in various ways to create more complicated overall patterns.


How to dye fabric with Mokuhan-zome

  1. (1) Select a wood block for the design you want to make
  2. (2) Draw an underpainting on the fabric with a dye called aobana-eki (blue flower liquid) that later washes out
  3. (3) Align wood blocks painted with dye to the underpainting and pound them to transfer the dye
  4. (4) Apply paste over the pattern, dye the fabric with the background color, steam-wash it, and you're done!
  • "What Are Traditional Crafts? -A Guidebook to Seeing, Learning, and Enjoying-" Edited by the Japan Kogei Association Eastern Branch. Published by Unsodo / List of works English translation: Kazuko Todate (Art critic / Art historian)