10 Anshun and our final attempt to find Batik

By Kartika Putra

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Anshun was supposed to be a centre for Batik designs however our arrival in the centre of town did not immediately reveal a thriving Batik trade like the travel blogs suggested.

Throughout our trip in China our efforts to communicate were hampered by a language and alphabet barrier. What made this barrier even more difficult to overcome were several cultural differences. Chinese people didn’t seem to want to use body language; that included hand signals. We learned from our mistakes earlier in the trip when searching for locations by having addresses written down in Chinese characters. Unfortunately this rarely assisted our expeditions; locals wouldn’t know the address, seemed adverse to looking for it on their phone maps (something we couldn’t do). Even when we gave people phone numbers to call with a note in Chinese characters explaining what we wanted a conversation would take place that we wouldn’t understand and we would be no closer to our goal.

We spend many hours wandering the streets of Anshun looking for Batik factories and exhibitions without luck. There was no evidence of the textile designs and the locals didn’t seem to understand our requests. We eventually gave up, thinking that Anshun was no longer involved in the Batik trade just like Shitouzhai, Matang village and Kaili.

Its sad to say, but we’ve come to the end of the road with Guizhou and our search for Batik. This part of our journey has been a harsh reminder of the fragility of these crafts and what can happen when it is forgotten and celebrated. Batik is a dyeing craft in Guizhou and unless we start appreciated the stories behind our clothes and purchases – they will continue to die.

We will hop over to Yunnan Province, hopefully to find some other beautiful textiles that we can use for Wolftress.

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