The development of wasarasa (Japanese chintz)
Vast quantities of hand-drawn or printed chintz made in India, Indonesia, and Europe was imported into Japan,where it was called sarasa. Imported sarasa, however, was too expensive for ordinary people. Admiration
for the imported cloth prompted imitation, and handbooks appeared describing the techniques. Three important handbooks (Sarasa binran, Zōho kafu binran, Sarasa zufu) were published in the
second half of the eighteenth century and became textbooks for hand-patterned chintz made in Japan. Initially, however, the patterns were applied to imported cloth, taking
time and effort, and such fabrics remained expensive. In time, with the spread of
cotton cultivation in Japan, domestic cotton became more readily available, and the use of
katagami stencils for dyeing leather and komon-patterned textiles (miniature-patterned stencil dyed fabrics) allowed for multicolored stencil-dyed Japanese chintz (wasarasa) to come in reach of Japanese commoners.