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




Woman’s dress, thigma khos or thigma goncha India, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Ladakh-pa, end of 19th or beginning of 20th century Wool Purchased by Catherine Mangeot 70.2006.5.1

The design of such dresses formerly worn for marriages and celebrations, shows variations from one region to another. They are now hardly ever worn except for celebrations. For their preparation, narrow pieces of locally woven twill (2/2) called therma were used. What characterizes the shape of the dresses is the insertion of panels which are narrow enough in bias binding at the level of the waist which gives greater fullness scope to the skirt. The reserve, by knot tying, after dyeing, made patterns in the form of crosses and petals. A small stick perhaps placed on each of the branches so that the design is well marked. Depending on the width, two or three dye baths may be necessary. In the extended range of natural dyes, the most common are indigo, mulberry, madder or rhubarb.