May 23 , 2019
The Chronicles of the Traditional Printing Styles of Rajasthan
Whenever you visit the incredible state of Rajasthan, the home of arts and artisans, you will never be going back empty-handed as this vibrant state has a lot to offer in respect of plenty of presents reflecting artistic outputs. The ancient heritage, vibrant lifestyle and beautiful art forms are visibly seen in each village and town of Rajasthan. One can easily notice the influence of nature in all the art forms nurturing in India as India has rich and abundant natural elements.
For the customers to take benefits of, a range of handicraft products such as blue pottery, terracotta pottery, paintings, and handmade cotton bed sheets is put forward by the desert state of India. A remarkable place in the international market is scored by these handicrafts and these are being largely appreciated there. Among all the other diverse art forms, the Bagru and Sanganeri hand block printed textiles falls under the “no exception” list.
Rajasthani prints are taking the global market by storm and the credits for this goes to the expert craftsmen hailing from the hamlet life of Rajasthan. These craftsmen cover in their ambit the entirety of the three-century-old tradition of block printing. They keep the heritage and legacy alive and it is because of them that the ancient art forms in its perfect symphony with nature can still be witnessed by us and the coming generations.
The Sanganeri Heritage art of Block Printing
One of the major centres of fine block cutting and printing in India is Sanganer, a small village situated near Jaipur. It was in the 16th and 17th century that the Sanganeri prints (almost 500 years old) gained the highest popularity. Its history dates back to the times when constant wars between Mughals and Marathas were going on. By the end of the 18th century, many craftsmen migrated from Gujarat to Rajasthan to get a rescue from the adverse effects of war. It was these people who developed a huge textile industry in Sanganer. It is estimated that today, for earning the livelihood, more than 25% of the local population is directly or indirectly dependent upon Sanganeri print industries.
The significant characteristics of the fabrics that are printed in Sanganer are low toned colours and sober design patterns with poppy roses and lotus usually against a white background. There is a clear distinction between the creative fine designs of Sanganer and the bold patterns of Bagru.
The specialty of Sanganeri style is the fine lines, intricate detailing and floral prints. For the dying purpose of Sanganeri printed cloth, natural dyes such as vegetable colours are used which makes it a very viable, eco-friendly option in a world full of intoxicated colours. Bold patterns and colours are popular but Calico printed bed sheets, quilts, saris, and shirts are the things which make the Sanganeri prints even more popular. Many design patterns are included in the Sanganeri art form of block printing. Various gods, fruits and folk patterns are also very popular in Sanganeri prints along with common motifs of big flowers such as sunflower, roses, and narcissus. You can find both quirky and classic Sanganeri printed material which can be used to get a wide variety of chic clothing stitched out of it. You can surely bag a lot of compliments with the Sanganeri Print from Jaipur.
The Bagru Heritage art of Block Printing
Bagru print is well-known for its bold patterns all over the world and it is derived from a small village named Bagru situated 32 km east of Jaipur city. The Chhipa community of this remote place follows the traditional technique of Bagru hand block printing. They use lighter backgrounds and on these, dark-hued motifs are imposed with wooden hand-made blocks. They craft such unique patterns that you will not find anywhere else. Bagru is a hub for the Indian cotton bed sheets which are exported all over the world.
The chief colours for Bagru printing are Red and Black. But with the passage of time, the motifs of Bagru printing have changed and evolved as per the contemporary fashion trends. Initially, natural objects like neem leaves, rose petals, chili and coriander spring were used to imprint these motifs on the clothes but now, these natural elements are replaced with wooden blocks on which the designs are hand-carved using simple tools by the artisans. Kurtas, quilts, printed shirts and bed sheets are commonly made using the traditional Bagru prints.
Bagru prints also have visible influence from the Persian art forms which is why the design patterns became more geometrical. One can find many designs with a central round which is further adorned with some floral or leafy motifs placed around it. To keep the tradition alive, the ancient craft of Bagru hand block prints has been handed down generations. However, it is done with the major revival in the textile industries and printing manners.
Plan an excursion to relive the techniques
A visit to Bagru and Sanganer is enough to acknowledge the ancient traditions of India mainly in respect of the printing, natural dyes, and hand embroidery. Here, the heritage art forms are preserved by the love of the local population and the immense hard work of the artisan fraternity.
In the international market, India is turning out to be a fashion vanguard in the current scenario. The Indian traditional hand printed textiles have greatly fascinated and attracted the buyers from all around the world. The craftsman remains occupied the whole year as the ever-changing export market of Indian textiles is still consistent with traditional prints of Bagru and Sanganer. So on your next visit to Rajasthan; make sure that your itinerary has a visit planned to Bagru and Sanganer in order to appreciate the century-old tradition of hand block printing process.