nankeen: ancient chinese [secret]

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nankeen (the brainchild of designer anne page) is a company that makes stunningly beautious indigo blue cotton bags using an endangered ancient chinese stencil-based printing process that dates from the song dynasty.

it’s a lovely thing that the textiles used here and the process which creates them is being preserved, as admirers and purchasers of such bags and accessories can learn about the history and significance of the fabrics and prints by buying and using the bags, they are in turn supporting and sustaining the continuance of their manufacture, ensuring that the process is not lost to time.

i must say: there’s something very classic about the pairing of that deep indigo blue with that white…it’s like a terrific white blouse paired with some amazing dark denims. and like (dark) denim, a bag of this color would arguably go with just about anything, it’s nearly a neutral.

if i had my druthers (what’s a druther?…) i’d carry that giant weekender as my every-day-er…(and perhaps pair them with those gorge tracey neuls dip-dyed heels!)


  1. caroline

    I really love the idea that very old techniques can be used to create such modern pieces. I think we as a society sometimes get caught up in thinking modernization means new technology which is not necessarily the case.

    I love that horsey print, btw.

  2. ambika

    This reminds me of Japanese Sashiko quilts–it’s all white thread on indigo fabric. How interesting that the same styles & colors were done in stencil.

  3. jennifer

    reminds me of sashiko, too.

    also, if i’m not mistaken, “druthers” is a southern slang/made-up phraseology for “i’d rather.”

    i just looked it up and i was right!

  4. miin

    btw, this art is not lost and is not dying! it is alive and well in taiwan. i lived in the same town as the national traditional arts centre and you can do workshops there on indigo dyeing (i made a handkerchief). taiwan has preserved a lot of its culture that i brought over from china and you can see a great resurgence in all areas of arts and culture there.

    beautiful bags!