Block Prints of Rajasthan

Jaipur Handblocks

Bagru, an early 16th century town near Jaipur, developed into a flourishing Textile Production Center and at its peak in the 19th century. Even today large numbers of Industrial units (Micro and Medium level) are producing Bagru Hand Block Prints for local as well as export market. The art of hand-block printing and design developed to a high level of sophistication, and this small 16th century village blossomed into one of India’s busiest artisan centers. as is evident from several specimens kept in National and Foreign Museums and/or description of this craft and skill given in several books and journals written by Indian and Foreign authors.

Method of Production

Manufacture of Bagru Hand Block Print still continues to adopt traditional method for preparation of dye mixtures, pre and post treatment of the cloth for printing and finishing. Various steps involved and details of Handblock Prints of Rajasthan. these are as given below:

Production Steps:

  1. Scouring (Pre processing of fabric before printing) locally called “Hari Sarana”
  2. Tannin or preparing fabric for printing locally called “Peela Karna” or Harda Rangai.
  3. Printing with mordant in salts locally called “Chapai”.
  4. Drying of printed fabric or Ageing before dyeing the fabric in natural dye locally called “Sukhai”.
  5. Washing or removal of excess mordant before dying locally called “Khulai”.
  6. Dyeing or fixing of colours after washing locally called “Rangai”.
  7. Resist Printing or mud clay printing locally called “Dhabu Datai”
  8. Dyeing with blue colour locally called “Neel Rangai”.
  9. Dyeing with yellow dye locally called “Haldi Naspal Putai”.
  10. Post mordant or fixing of yellow dye locally called “Fitkari Rangai”.
  11. After that Final washing locally called “Dhulai” to get rid of all the excess dye and resist paste.



All possible Natural fabric (like cotton, cotton x silk, wool etc.) and man made fibers like rayon.


Vegetable and plant products like leaves, seeds. Fruits etc. are the main source for production of dyes of desired col our and shades. These are as given below:-

  1. Harda Powder (Natural Turmeric/pomegranate rinds) is use to give creamish yellow colour to the fabric.
  2. To give deep black colour Syahi paste making fermented solution of iron with molasses and gum in combination with Harda is used. These are again natural vegetable products.
  3. To impart red colour shades natu ral/vegetable dyes like Maddar (Rubia tinctoria, Rubia manjista rich in alizarine and purpurin are used.
  4. In addition For Blue colour, extracts from Neal Plants (Indigofera tinctoria)
  5. Other natural dyes for desired colours normally used are as given below:

Emulsions & Pastes

  1. Telkhar Emulsion:

    It is an emulsion for oiling and alkaline treatment used to desize and partially bleach the grey cloth.
  2. Pila Karana Solution:

    This is use to give creamish yellow colour to the fabric. It is made of harda powder.
  3. Begar Paste:

    This is the mordant alum which in combination with alizarine develops a rich red colour.
  4. Syahi Paste:

    Syahi is essentially a fermented solution of iron and fermenting agent molasses (jiggery, gur) and gum. Syahi in combination with harda develops into a deep black colour.
  5. Dabu (Resist Paste):

    Resist paste is applying on those parts of printed motifs whose colour is sought to be protected and sealed off from the effects of further treatment that the cloth undergoes in subsequent process. Dabu paste is prepared by mixing “Kali Mitti” (clay soil), lime (Bidhan) wheat flour and gum. These are mixed in specific ratios depending upon type of Dabu paste needed.
  6. Alizarine Bath:

    This is red colouring dye bath prepared by using vegetable dyes like maddar (Rubia tinctoria, Rubia manjista) which contains substances called alizarin e and purpurin. Nowadays synthetic alizarine is used due to shortage of vegetable alizarine. Alizarine and “dhawai ka phool” (Dhawai Flower W ood Fordia Floribunda) are mixed in specific ratios in water and mixture kept for required hours to get required reddish hue.
  7. Indigo Blue:

    Indigo blue (nil) is a blue colouring matter extracted from Neel plants (Indigofera tinctoria). Nowadays synthetic indigo granules available in market are also used.

Handblock Prints of Rajasthan Uniqueness 

    The ground colour of Bagru Hand Block Prints are mostly off white (cream). Therefore motifs of Bagru Prints are small in size and can be one or two of following five groups:

        • Motifs of Flowers, Leaves and Buds
        • Motifs of Intertwisted Tendril
        • Motifs of Trellis Designs
        • Motifs of Figurative Designs
        • Motifs of Geometrical designs

      Dye preparation for desired colours and shades is a guarded secret of Chhipas of Bagru only. Dyes (paste and liquid both) are producing by using bark, flowers and roots of locally available trees, river water and available fine clay sand. For instance This is considered as a unique & dominant geographical characteristic.

      Bagru Prints are producing mainly for the taste and needs of local communities and are well known and distinct from other printed fabric due to its Black and Red colour combinations harmonized on the same piece.

      The unique Geographical characteristic of Bagru Hand Block Print is availability of all resources in Bagru and around. All production units are not in the organized sector and therefore, outsource small segments of work for conducting different process to the different craftsmen working form small cottage industries. The interdependency of manufacturers and craftsmen is so deep that both are made for each-other and jointly produce the well known products i.e. Bagru Hand Block Prints. The Bagru Hand Block Print range so wide that no other place has so far come to compete with Bagru Handblock Prints of Rajasthan.

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