On a small island in southern Japan, a centuries-old method of dyeing kimono silk is still practised, and the essential ingredient is – mud. The silk is first stained 30 times with dye from the pulp of local plum trees, but only then is it ready to be submerged repeatedly in the iron-rich mud, which reacts with tannins in the tree dye to turn the silk the colour of dark chocolate.

The highly prized kimonos made from mud dyed silk can take a year to produce, and have fetched up to $10,000 in better economic times.

 

Mud dyed silk kimonos

Mud-dyed silk kimonos