History of hand block printing in Bagru
Bagru is one of the famous place for hand block printing in Rajasthan located 25 km west of Jaipur. The Chhipa community is famous for this artisan work of block printing. Its soil and climate provide a perfect blend for this exclusive style of printing. Dabu printing is famous in Bagru in which clay, gum, ruined wheat, and limestone, are mixed together and printed on the fabric. Thereafter fabric then can be dyed and left for drying under the sunlight. Now day’s synthetic dyes are introduced for various color combinations but still, the village has the practice to use natural color. Indigo, pomegranate, hard is used to obtain the natural colors. Chhipa mohalla is considered the hub of hand block printing in Bagru where one can be able to see various colors of fabric hung on terraces.
It is believed that this form of art was introduced 450 years back by the Chhipa community who were settled in the banks of river Sanjariya which provides the most important ingredient “clay” for this printing. The fabric is then soaked in Fuller’s earth and then dipped into turmeric water to get a tone of yellow color. Then the dyed fabric is stamped with the beautiful designs known as blocks. The base color of the fabric is usually the dull shades such as white, cream, beige, and natural color such as red, black, and maroon are used for printing. Black color can be obtained naturally from iron horseshoe smeared in water, red can be obtained from alum and maroon is a mixture of black and red. Apart from this natural vegetable dyes are also prominent and saffron is also used to create a special print of hand block printing in Bagru. Even you can also check out the different types of block printing in India.
Hand Block Printing Process
It’s a labor-intensive process that requires a lot of skillfulness, time, and tolerance power of artisan.
The new wooden blocks of teak-wood are used for printing the design which is soaked in oil for a few days and then washed before being put to use.
These collections of blocks are considered to be the wealth of Chhipa’s that they have collected over a period of time.
The cloth to be printed is soaked in the solution of clay and other chemicals to make the fabric soften and then dried before being used for printing.
Neat stamping is foremost to get appealing prints.
After printing, the cloth is left for drying in sun for a final touch-up.
Different types of motifs used in Bagru printing are Bunta, Jaal, Borders, Bunti, etc.
Nowadays various modern techniques and different types of equipment are used by artisans to make their crafts more efficient and effective. Synthetic dyes are used to come out from the traditional style of hand block printing in Bagru and make the prints more attractive. Many Chhipa families have left this form of art and migrated to cities but still many skilled artisans are there to keep their ancient tradition. This art is not only magnificent but also Eco friendly so gaining more importance as the world is rising up for environmental awareness and getting renowned day by day.