Hand Block Printing of Bagru, Rajasthan

Hand-Block Printing

Hand Block Printing of Bagru, Rajasthan

The block printing done in Bagru mainly uses the earth dabu and prints on indigo, red, blue or yellow coloured ground with usually, harda work done on it. The motifs are simple and include floral and linear patterns. A remarkable feature of the traditional printing is that animals are not printed on fabric meant for costumes.

Bagru, a small town contiguous with Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan, has long been known for its clay-resist/ dabu process of patterning on textiles. The Chippa community of printers had in the past block-printed on hardwearing Reja cotton for the local tribal and peasant community. The social significance of the printed textile, the colors and motifs printed indicated marital status and distinguished the ethnic identity of the wearer.

Now though printing largely for a new urban market, the coarse base textiles replaced by finer textures, the print technique followed and the color palette of deep red, indigo-blue, green, iron-black and marigold yellow remains the same even though chemical dyes have largely replaced the natural dyes of the past.

The motifs, whether floral or geometric, are hand-blocked printed in a complex process. The specially prepared clay is imprinted onto the textile, at different stages to safeguard and retain the color from additional dye dips.

This tradition of clay-resist dabu block printing remains vibrant today with the hereditary Chippas continuing to practice and transmit their skills orally and through apprenticeship.


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