The block printing technique has existed for more than five hundred years in India with each region having its specific style and method of printing the fabric. When it comes to Rajasthan, there are mainly five different styles which at some point in time were finding it difficult to exist beside the modern manufacturing processes. However, with continuous efforts regarding their restoration, the prints have gained a renowned position worldwide today. Know more about these beautiful printing techniques right here with Connect Jaipur:
The Sanganeri print is said to have originated between the 16th and 17th century when constant wars between the Maratha and Mughal clans led to the migration of several craftsmen from Gujarat to the princely state of Rajasthan. These artisans then made Sanganer (a small town located south-east of Jaipur) as their base for the evolution of this block printing art. Use of bright colors and delicate design patterns such as flora and fauna motifs, folk scenes, etc., on a white cloth base are crucial in its production process.
Dabu printing is tedious and involves a lot of steps in the processing before the final product actually comes into being. In the primary stages of this technique, a design is sketched out on the cloth and covered with clay. Once the clay dries up, the cloth is then dyed in the preferred colors and allowed to rest until it soaks them. As it is obvious, the area covered with mud does not catch the dye and remains colorless. This technique is entirely non-toxic and makes use of natural dye and vegetable pastes.
You won’t find much difference in the patterns used in the Bagru and Sanganeri prints, however, the former makes use of the dyed background as compared to the latter which uses a white cloth base. Water plays a major role in the dyeing process, and since both of these regions have a slightly different chemical concentration in this case, the overall product comes out to be different. Bagru printing is practiced with indigo dyes and usually has a reddish tinge. Also, the motifs are bigger and geometric in most of the designs.
The Akola block printing style is found in Udaipur and is named after the village with the same name. It is a type of mud resist printing similar to the Dabu prints, but the technique is entirely different. In this, the designs are printed on a napthol dyed cloth with the help of metal blocks and make use of three different types of mud resist materials depending on the absorbent properties of the colors to be used.
This particular block printing style has its roots in Barmer, although you can find a similar version in the Kutch region of Gujarat. The Ajrakh prints are mostly inspired from the nature and make use of natural dyes instead of the chemical ones. The designs usually rest on an indigo or red colored background and the technique used involves reverse printing where a pattern is first made out on the cloth and then exposed to a dye repellent where the color is not required.
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