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Art of adhesive painting: Essential part of Baikuyao Attire
Updated: 2024-04-16


The hand-dyed fabric with Baikuyao elements. [Photo/WeChat: hcrbnews]

Every year during the Sanyuesan Festival, the Baikuyao ethnic group in Nandan county, Hechi dress in their meticulously-handcrafted traditional attire, coming together to sing, play spinning tops, and perform the bronze drum dance on stage. Their clothing, is dyed with an array of intricate and elaborate patterns.

In Nandan county, the Baikuyao people venture deep into the mountains to seek out a rare adhesive-producing tree. They extract a thick paste after chiseling the tree bark, using it as the primary material for making adhesive paint.

Using a bamboo knife as a brush, they dip it into the processed and boiled adhesive paste, painting on white cotton fabric. The fine adhesive paste flows evenly from the blade, gradually forming vivid and exquisite patterns on the pristine fabric.

The adhesive painting is most challenging part of making Baikuyao attire. "Baikuyao women start learning to make clothes at the age of eight, spending two to three years mastering the basics before moving on to embroidery. Subsequently, they gradually learn adhesive painting, and finally, the art of indigo dyeing," said Li Qiuyi, a maker of Baikuyao attire.

At the scenic areas in Nandan county, Baikuyao sisters integrate adhesive painting, wax printing, and other traditional Baikuyao crafts with Zhuang culture, infusing them with modern creative elements to produce various cultural and creative products such as pendants, sachets, and embroidered balls, which have gained popularity among visiting tourists.

By integrating traditional attire techniques into modern designs, makers of Baikuyao attire are reviving the old craft for the modern era.


Baikuyao women integrate adhesive painting, wax printing, and other traditional Baikuyao crafts with Zhuang culture. [Photo/WeChat: hcrbnews]

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