bagru
FOLK HERITAGE

“BAGRU”- BLOCK PRINTING FROM JAIPUR

TEXTILE HERITAGE OF HAND BLOCK PRINTING

BAGRU is an age old technique of textile printing technique from the cultural land of Rajasthan. The piece of fabric orinted with Bagru is handcrafted with all the love to nature and inherited traditions.

Bagru is acknowledged for its wooden blocks and use of natural colors all around the world. It is totally an Eco-friendly practice.

BAGRU HAND BLOCK PRINTING
HAND BLOCK PRINTING

The admirers of textile handicraft might already heard or know about this beautiful printing technique, but some of you do not. So lets hear the tale and grab more knowledge about this very own heritage textile art

BAGRU- ORIGIN AND HISTORY

Bagru, is a traditional BLOCK-PRINTING art of Rajasthan, flourished in a small town of “Bagru“at a distance of 30–35 kms from Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. The practice is as old as 400 to 500 years.

Bagru is religiously developed and followed by the locals called Chippas who migrated from Sawai Madhopur (Alwar) as nomads and settled themselves in Bagru for livelihood.

THE CHIPPA COMMUNITY

Chippa is actually a clan involved in hand-block printing. Their name comes from two Nepal Bhasha words 

  • chhi -“to dye”
  • pa -“to leave something to bask in sun”

PICTURES FROM CHIPPA COMMUNITY – https://www.handblockprint.com/

bagru- PICTURES FROM CHIPPA COMMUNITY
PICTURES FROM CHIPPA COMMUNITY

Bagru town has this especial Chhipa Mohalla (printers’ quarters) where all the work related to textile printing is carried out. Traditional Bagru prints use dark (or colored) patterns on cream or dyed backgrounds. The three-centuries-old tradition of block printing is kept alive and now gained international recognition with the efforts of Bagru artisans.

PROCESS OF BAGRU PRINTING

Printing the fabric is a time taking process where the craftsmen bestow all its skill and passion into the textile. The process is completed in various steps like-

  • HARI SARANA – This is the first step, where the raw plain cloth is washed with the paste of cow-dung, soda and sesame seeds to make it free from any impurities.
  • The cloth is washed and dried.
  • HARAD Treatment The cloth is then soaked in a solution of water and harda — a natural mordant made from the myrobalan fruit to give a yellowish tint to the fabric.
bagru
  • This produces light cream color background and differentiates it from another dyeing art-‘Sanganer’, always on white ground.
  • SUN DRY -The fabric is then dried in the sun. Ample of water and sunshine are prime requirements for the process. (used water is recycled and charged into underground).
  • Wooden blocks used for printing are soaked overnight in mustard oil and then washed.
  • Printing is done on a wooden table to get neat and tidy stamping.
PROCESS OF BLOCK PRINTING
PROCESS OF BLOCK PRINTING
  • Then the dyed fabric is stamped with the beautiful designs known as blocks.
  • The dyeing process can be repeated over and over until the desired color is achieved.
  • After printing, the cloth is left for drying in the sun for a final touch-up.

BAGRU PRINTING WORKSHOP

Bagru Block Printing Workshop- https://colouriciousholidays.com/2017..

Bagru is home to unique block printed textiles and block printing techniques. Colouricious Holiday guests enjoyed printing their own fabric designs with Bagru printers in traditional workshops. Visit colouricious holidays to take a look at the wonderful destinations or find out more about the printing processes practiced in Bagru. .

BAGRU PRINT- ALL NATURAL COLORS

Bagru is the classic example of how natural vegetable dyes are still used for printing even in such a commercialized world. Even today, artisan use traditional naturally extracted PLANT BASED PIGMENTS AND DYES for printing the cloth. Usually Bagru prints have ethnic floral patterns in natural colors.

bagru
  • Blues are made from Indigo dye, stored in dye vats 10 to 12 feet deep.
  • Red colors (begar) are created by mixing varying proportions of alum (fitkari), madder and acacia arabica (also called babul gond) for obtaining different hues.
  • Alum is used for greys and syahi (fermented waste iron, jaggery, and water) for blacks.
  • Greens are obtained from indigo mixed with pomegranate.
  • Yellow from dried pomegranate, turmeric and dried flowers of Dhabaria.

Though most colors used in the Bagru printing are Eco-friendly but occasionally non-toxic chemical dyes are used by Chippas to create brighter colors and meet the raising demands.

WOODEN BLOCKS FOR BAGRU ART

Wooden blocks are the actual treasure for a Chippa craftsman which are passed on to generations and are means of transferring the skill of the artisan onto the fabric.

Blocks used for the block printing of clothes ,rajasthani print ,Jaipur
Blocks used for the block printing of clothes ,rajasthani print ,Jaipur

There are three types of blocks-

  • GUDH- It is the background block which is generally first stamped.
  • REKH- It is an outline block.
  • DATTA- These are filler blocks which complete the design.

The blocks or stamps are carved by a carver using drills, chisels, hammers, nails and files on wood following a particular design or motif. Woods like Sagwaan (Teak), Sheesham (Indian Rosewood), or Rohida (sometimes called ‘Desert Teak’ or ‘Marwar Teak’) are often favored to design intricate and detailed motifs.

A CARVED WOODEN PRINTING BLOCK FOR TEXTILE PRINTING
A CARVED WOODEN PRINTING BLOCK FOR TEXTILE PRINTING

MOTIFS USED IN BAGRU ART

Bagru motifs are intricate and are developed gradually over a long period of time. They are often inspired by nature, flora, and fauna but geometrical patterns came into existence after Persian influence. Most common Bagru motifs contains:

1. Flowers and birds:

Traditionally called as Bada Bunta, Bankadi, Hajura, Bewada, Hara Dhania, Kel, Aath Kaliyan.

2. Inter-twisted tendrils:

These are used as ‘bels’ example Chota Bel, Kalam kali etc.

bagru motifs
BAGRU MOTIFS, unnatisilks.com

3. Trellis designs:

Developed under Persian influence. These are popularly called jals in Bagru. Such motifs cover the entire body of the cloth. They are without
borders.

4. Figurative designs:

These are animal, bird and human motifs, e.g., ‘hiran’ (deer), mayur’ (peacock), ‘sua’ (parrot).

5. Geometrical designs:

These are geometrical in shapes, e.g. ‘Leheriya’ (wave), ‘chaupad’ (check), ‘kanguras’ (triangular), ‘chatais’ (woven) pattern etc.

TYPE OF FABRIC FOR BAGRU PRINT

Most common type of cloth for Bagru printing and dyeing is cotton and similar materials like:

* Mulls or mulmul – Muslin in English. It is a fine soft cotton.
* Lattha -Type of cotton.
* Handloom fabrics– Cloth weaved without the use of any electricity.
* Dosuti fabrics– High grade quality handloom fabric.
* Khaddar cloth
– Rough textured fabric

They are all Eco-friendly fabrics, therefore some extra care is required to keep the prints last longer. Washing them in cold water, avoid direct sun exposure and some other tips can keep them safe.

Read more about HOW TO HANDLE NATURAL PIGMENTS here.

BAGRU IN CONTEMPORARY FASHION

With the inclination of the common public towards hand-printed and handcrafted textiles, Bagru is no more a part of the mere local community rather gained much appreciation in local and international market. The fabulous prints are highly used in contemporary fashion. They are no more confined to ghagra-choli and evolved into contemporary fashion in pants, skirts, jackets and modern apparels.

Other than fashion, Bagru prints are immensely used in enhancing the home decor with furnishings like bedsheets, cushions, quilts, curtains etc.

END NOTE

So you see how amazing is this to find the traditional textile art keep its mark up in the modern market. Each fabric that is passionately crafted with natural materials, vibrant colors, stunning patterns, rhythmic patterns and intricate workmanship brings the warmth of uniqueness to every beholder.

We must be obliged to the craftsmen of Bagru as their passion and love to their heritage keeps alive the cultural identity of this small village called Bagru and their exquisitely carved fabrics adds to the cultural heritage of India.

Hope you find the post helpful. Do like and share. Feedbacks are appreciated.

5 thoughts on ““BAGRU”- BLOCK PRINTING FROM JAIPUR”

  1. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your
    blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
    Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s
    rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.

  2. Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google,
    and found that it’s really informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels.

    I will appreciate if you continue this in future.

    A lot of people will be benefited from your writing.
    Cheers!

Leave a Reply