Colour and patterns

Colour is the most immediately visible stylistic element. The two-colour or polychrome process depends on the number of dye baths which follow the preparation of reserves.  Formerly exclusively natural, dyes today are often synthetic.  The choice of colour is associated with symbolism of the colours and this aspect is equally referred to here.


Some original patterns come from reserve-dyeing processes and are revealed by playing with the colours.

  • indigo


  • parrot green

    parrot green

  • red


  • colour symbolism

    colour symbolism

  • ochre and brown

    ochre and brown

  • multicoloured


  • paint highlights

    paint highlights

  • dotted spiral

    dotted spiral

  • circular pattern

    circular pattern

  • figurative dotted lines

    figurative dotted lines

  • irregular line design

    irregular line design

  • sewing on pleats

    sewing on pleats

  • geometric representation, sowing

    geometric representation, sowing

  • figurative


circular pattern

circular pattern

Man’s belt, thigma skerags India, Jammu and Kashmir, Zanskar, Zanskar-pa, 20th century 70.2006.5.2

Twisted yarn (yarn finer and more twisted at the ends gives a different aspect). Worn every day. Fabrics from Zanskar, at more than 3,400 metres of altitude, are different in the treatment of patterns and shades than those of other regions of Ladakh. 2/2 snambu twill, dyed after reserve by knot tying on a small pinched cone. The process, superimposing a red and blue cross, is repeated twice. Three vegetable dye baths.