Friday, July 11, 2014


Chintz as apparel fabric
Calicut (Kozhikode, a port town in Southern most state of Kerala in India), was famous for its cotton fabric called Ka-liyan after the traditional weavers who were also known as ‘Ka-liyans’. Calicut was a major spices exporting centre, since 11th (or even earlier), where European seafaring traders were regular visitors. European traders found Indian textile-fabric to be a valuable additional trade commodity and introduced the Calico product to their home countries. Later Chintz, a solid-coloured or printed variety of Calico was brought to Europe.

The word Chintz derives from its original singular version Chint or Chhint, roughly translated as spotted. The Portuguese, called them pintado meaning, not painted but spotted. Chintz. Acharya Hemachandra (Hemchandra Suri a Jain Monk, 1089–1172 Gujarat, India) has mentioned calico fabric prints as chhimpa, or chhapanti (chhap=printed pattern or image), with a lotus design. During the Indian Sultanate period 1200onwards (pre-Mughal Era), printed cotton textiles were produced in Surat, Ahmedabad and of Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh of India. Chintzes for European markets were quite different from the local Indian designs, had new patterns such as flowers and birds, and swags.

The overwhelming popularity of printed cottons or Chintz material dulled the traditional wool and silk sales markets in England and France, leading to ban on import of dyed or printed calicoes from India, China or Persia. This led to import of grey-clothes (unfinished -washed, dyed or printed textiles. The grey-clothes were reprocessed and printed in southern England with the popular patterns. 18th C saw a great market in many European countries for the incredible cotton fabric that was bright, colour-fast, and had exotic patterns. Chintz was initially used for wall and bed hangings. But soon enough it was liked by everyone in the society as apparel material due to its lightness, comfort and beautiful designs.
Fashionable London actor David Garrick and his wife had their chintz bed hangings confiscated by English customs.
Chintzes were fabrics glazed with starch and calendered with wax. These were in later periods were heavily ironed or burnished with a shell or beaten with wooden mallets to produce a shiny surface. The finish was however, very temporary, yet very widely used for its luxurious appeal in furnishings and formal apparels. Post Industrial revolution periods several chemical-based permanent glazing processes were developed. Unglazed fabric is known as Cretonne.

The term mordant derives from a French word mordre =to bite, as it was thought that a mordant helps the dye to bite onto the fabric, to hold fast during washing. A mordant is often a polyvalent metal ion. Mordants include tannic acid, alum, urine, chrome alum, sodium chloride, and certain salts of aluminium, chromium, copper, iron, iodine, potassium, sodium, and tin. The Mordant + Dyes combination (pre-mordant, meta-mordant or post-mordant) operates in one of these methods: 1. The substrate is treated with the mordant and then dyed, 2. The mordant is added in the dye bath itself, and 3. The dyed material is treated with a mordant.

Madame de Pompadour wearing Chintz dress in painting by Fran├žois-Hubert Drouais 

No comments:


Post 150 -by Gautam Shah  . A recent fire in Glasgow School of Art, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh has become hea...