Tea-Silk - 香云纱 „xiangyunsha“
Literally translated as ‘fragrant cloud organza’ this classic fabric is also known as Chinese Gambiered Silk, or Tea-Silk. Its tradition derives from Guangdong Province and dates as far back as the Ming Dynasty (14th to 17th century AD). A complicated dyeing process makes Tea-Silk unique and precious. Kathrin von Rechenberg sources the raw silk fabric and has it dyed in a traditional dyeing workshop in the Pearl River Delta, where Tea-Silk processing still follows the traditional hand-dyeing technique.
The making of Tea-Silk is a totally manual process. The silk fabric is dyed up to 30 times with the vegetable juice of a yam, Dioscorea cirrhosa, and after each dyeing process laid flat on the grass in the sun to dry before it is dyed again. Covering it with river mud after the dyeing gives it its characteristic glossy brown/black sheen. This natural and traditional fabric, which is completely ecologically processed, reflects in the truest sense water, sand, sun and the rhythm of the seasons. Tea-Silk is a living, breathing fabric. Its luster, like that of the pearl, increases with time. The uneven shading makes the fabric unique. Properly aged tea silk is as rare as fine wine; thus some ‘items’ are only available in limited quantities.