"Colorful World: Overview of Natural Dyes" The First Biennale of Natural Dyes Announcement
Host: Zhejiang Culture and Tourism Office
Bureau of Cultural Relics of Zhejiang Province
Organizer: China National Silk Museum
Co-organizer: China Academy of Art

Chair: Dr. Feng Zhao (Director of China National Silk Museum, Hangzhou, PR China)
Co-chair: Dr. Dominique Cardon (Directrice de Recherche émérite CNRS, Lyon, France)

May 20-24, 2019
The advent of synthetic dyes in the 19th century brought a steep decline in the centuries‐old productions of natural dyes around the world. By the beginning of the 21st century, however, interest in natural dyes underwent a revival as urban dwellers rediscovered nature as the answer for achieving solace and harmonious living. Today, many international communities are advocating the use of natural dyes in modern practices and promoting researches on ancient dyeing techniques. In recognition for these artistic and scientific endeavors, the China National Silk Museum (CNSM) organizes the first biennale of natural dyes, with an aim to celebrate the beauty of colors in nature, as well as to explore the ancient wisdom and knowledge embodied in the traditional craft of dyeing.

1. Exhibitions
1.1. 300-Year History of Dyes on Textiles in Europe and Asia
In recent years, CNSM has acquired a large collection of 17th -19th centuries world textiles. CNSM scientists uses these textiles as reference samples to analyses the dye components and to perform comparative studies with dyes known to be produced in Asian and European countries. The results show that the world of natural dyes is highly diverse; dyes from different regions and time periods vary in their scientific components, technological processes, artistic choices, and cultural meanings.

1.2. Contemporary Art and Design Works on Natural Dyeing
Synthetic dyes have been around for several centuries and were highly popular among dyers due to their ease of use and transport. Today, however, natural dyeing breathes new life as more crafts people return to using natural colorants, often viewed as heavenly gifts. In this BOND event, CNSM is inviting craftsmen and artisans worldwide to showcase their contemporary natural‐dyed works on the theme of "natural dyestuffs" around the world. This part of the exhibition is aimed to highlight artistic creations and expressions using natural dyes, with emphasis of cross‐border cultural design ideas. So far, we have received around 100 submissions of artworks, but we are still accepting submission until 28 February 2019 (See Annex 1 for the registration form).

2. "Colorful World: Natural Dyes" Symposium

Dye masters and scholars from different parts of the world will share their knowledge on modern and ancient dyeing practices in different cultures and decorative techniques employing natural colorants. During the symposium, the audience will gain insight and higher appreciation of the rich diversity of natural dyes and the complex issues surrounding their study. Registration with fee is required (See Annex 2 for the registration form).

Symposium Program(Download)

3. Workshops
CNSM will organize workshops on traditional dyeing technology and different decorative techniques from various world regions. The workshops will include reconstitution of Qianlong palette, traditional Japanese dyeing, clamp‐resist dyeing and ash‐resist dyeing, traditional African dyeing, etc. Registration with fee is required (See Annex 3 for the registration form).

Workshops Program(Download)

4. Craft Market
There will be an international craft market of up to 20 stalls. To participate as a vendor requires a fee of 800-1500 CNY per stall for one week. Interested vendors should send an application to All proposals will be selected by a committee.

5.  A Study Tour
CNSM will organize a week-long trip to Minority zone in Guizhou Province where participants would learn more about natural dyes. An estimated cost is 8500 CNY per person. To join the tour, please send a letter of interest to .

Annex 1-3(Download)

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