Nankeen, also called Nankeen cloth, is a kind of pale yellowish cloth, originally made at Nanjing from a yellow variety of cotton, but subsequently manufactured from ordinary cotton which is then dyed. Also in the plural a piece or variety of this cloth.[1]

The term blue nankeen describes hand-printed fabric of artistic refinement and primitive simplicity, which originated on the Silk Road over three thousand years ago.

Hand-carved stencils, originally made from wood but now from heavy paper, are prepared and a mix of soya bean flour and slaked lime is applied through the openings of the stencil onto the 100% cotton fabric. When dry, the fabric is then dipped numerous times into the large tubs containing the indigo dye. After the desired color is achieved and the fabric has dried, the paste is scraped off, revealing the white patterns on the blue cloth. The fabric is then washed, dried, and ironed before fabrication. Such fabric represents one of many fast-disappearing historic art forms which embody ancient Chinese culture and tradition.[citation needed]


Derived uses

Nankeen also refers to:

  • Trousers made of nankeen (singular or plural).
  • A pale yellow or buff; the colour of nankeen.
  • Bobbin lace made from unbleached silk (usually in plural form nankins).
  • A kind of usually blue and white porcelain of Chinese style, originally exported to Europe from Nanking and later copied by European potters.
  • Of the colour of nankeen; pale yellow or buff; also from their colour, part of the name of many animals and plants (chiefly Australian).
    • Nankeen gum, the bimble box, Eucalyptus populnea, a tree of eastern Australia having a fibrous bark and glossy green leaves.
    • Nankeen Kestrel, also called Nankeen hawk, the Australian kestrel, Falco cenchroides, a small falcon found in Australia and neighbouring islands.
    • Nankeen Night Heron, also called Nankeen bird or Nankeen crane or Nankeen heron, the rufous night heron, Nycticorax caledonicus, a stocky nocturnal heron found in Australasia and Indonesia

See also


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nankeen — Nan*keen , n. [So called from its being originally manufactured at Nankin (Nanjing), in China.] [Written also {nankin}.] 1. A species of cloth, of a firm texture, originally brought from China, made of a species of cotton ({Gossypium religiosum}) …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Nankeen — Nankeen, Baumwollgewebe in der Mandschurei, namentlich durch chinesische Handweberei erzeugt …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • nankeen — (n.) kind of cotton cloth, 1755, from NANKING (Cf. Nanking), China, where it originally was made …   Etymology dictionary

  • nankeen — or nankin [nan kēn′] n. [< NANKING, whence orig. imported] 1. a buff colored, durable cotton cloth, originally from China 2. [pl.] trousers made of this cloth …   English World dictionary

  • nankeen — /nan keen /, n. 1. a firm, durable, yellow or buff fabric, formerly made from a natural colored Chinese cotton. 2. a twilled material made from other cotton and dyed in imitation of this fabric. 3. nankeens, garments made of this material. 4. a… …   Universalium

  • nankeen — noun Etymology: Nanking (Nanjing), China Date: 1755 1. a durable brownish yellow cotton fabric originally loomed by hand in China 2. plural trousers made of nankeen …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • nankeen — næn kɪːn n. sturdy cotton cloth originating in China; cloth resembling nankeen; clothing made from this material …   English contemporary dictionary

  • nankeen — [naŋ ki:n, nan ] noun a yellowish cotton cloth. ↘(nankeens) historical trousers made of nankeen. Origin C18: from the name of the city of Nanking in China, where it was first made …   English new terms dictionary

  • nankeen — n. 1 a yellowish cotton cloth. 2 a yellowish buff colour. 3 (in pl.) trousers of nankeen. Etymology: Nankin(g) in China, where orig. made …   Useful english dictionary

  • nankeen — noun a type of cotton cloth originally from Nanking in China …   Wiktionary

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