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The Journey of Jaipur Hand-Block Printing Art

Rajasthan, the Land of Kings, has given so much to be proud of. Everything gives meaning to life, from the art of architectural sculpture to the divine and delectable Marwari cuisine, from dramatic, bright-colored folk costumes to the creative handcrafted commodity. This blog will bring one such traditional art from Rajasthan into the frame and talk it over.  

Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, is popularly known as “Pink City,” which has an ancient craft called “Jaipur Block Printing Art.” Art is in culture since time immemorial and is accepted globally. So, let’s check what Block Printing of Rajasthan and the history of Block Printing on fabric is.  

The Chipa Community introduced the Jaipur block printing art, and this art has been passed down from one generation to another by the different families and communities. 

 In India, there are many Indian traditional prints. Still, one of the famous prints among them is the hand block printing in Rajasthan, but Rajasthan itself is also famous for various traditional crafts. 

This block printing of Rajasthan is done at different places in Rajasthan, and each area is rich in heritage and culture and impacts the art. 

 The Sanganer place, near Jaipur, is a centre of Jaipur hand block printing, and it receives a lot of limelight due to its closeness to the capital city. It is a significant centre for Jaipur block print art, and the place is located 30 km away from the city.

 

History of Block Print Art of Rajasthan 

The block print, Jaipur art, has been in India for hundreds of years now. This pattern blocking art has always been famous among the royals and has gained more fame and flourished under their guidance and support. These wooden printing blocks or Indian block printing art started in Rajasthan during the 18th century under the rule of Sawai Jai Singh. The history of block printing on the fabric started in Sanganer since the river was a constant water source for the craftsmen or artisans to wash and dye their products. 

During this time, many well-skilled artisans were invited from Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh by Sawai Jai Singh to come to Sanganer and open their workshops or make people more skilled in this art. This move paved a path for a major art centre in Rajasthan and created block printing history. 

And this move of him slowly became a source of income for thousands of families through different generations.

 

The Artisan 

The artisans of this art generally belong to the Chippa community. Pattern blocking has been practised for years and generation by generation. As a result, the intricates have been transferred from one generation to another. Every person of the community is involved in making these block printing on fabric, from printing, dyeing, washing, etc. Still, some people do other work apart from the pattern blocking but indirectly help this art form. These people are the wooden block makers, dyers, tailors, suppliers of raw materials. But the leading cause of the success of this art form is the constant availability of water.

 

Tools used for Jaipur Block Printing

The main tools of this art are the design blocks of different sizes and shapes, mainly made up of wood or metal. The wooden block is made up of teak wood, and the block makers cave out the design on a piece of paper before finally doing it on the wood itself. 

Then, the carver chisels the design on the wood, and once ready; it is then soaked in oil for 10-15 days to soften the grain. 

 There are two different types of blocks: the outline block called Rekh, and the other block, the filler block, known as Datta. For more complicated designs or more clarity, metal blocks are used instead of wooden ones. 

 Apart from these, one more critical piece of equipment needed by the craftsmen is the printing table, which is mainly made for this art, 3ft high and 3ft wide and 9 ft long. These table surfaces are covered with several layers of cloth, jute canvas, and more than one craftsman can stand and work on the same table. 

 

The Process

 

 

These hand block prints include six steps of designing, carving, dyeing, stamping, washing, and drying.

 The first step talks about the design; it is usually done on paper. The design is made for the wooden block. The wooden block is then soaked in oil for few days to get ready.

As the design completes, the second step of carving comes into phase. The paper on which the design is made is kept on the wooden block and carved accordingly.

 Then the material is selected for the third step of dyeing. The colours are chosen considering the contrasts. 

After dyeing the cloth material, the wooden blocks are dipped into the contrasting colour bowl for the fourth step of stamping. The wooden blocks are pressed on the material to print the design at different gaps to give a beautifully printed silhouette. 

The next comes to washing to remove the extra, overweighted colour on the cloth and then it is kept outside in free space for sun-dry. 

Finally, the material is ironed and packed for selling; the whole process usually takes more than a week. 

 

Colours of Pattern Blocking

 

 

One of the facts about block printing is, traditionally, the artisan’s used natural colours. Still, today, in modern block printing, chemical dyes are used, which have, for obvious reasons, are prevalent nowadays. The artisans extracted the natural colours from the fruits and vegetables, and then they formed a basic shade palette of blue, red, green, and black, all the primary colours. The indigo blue was extracted from the indigo plant. 

 One of the main reasons that make this art so popular is the extraordinary motifs on it. These designs are usually printed over white or cream-coloured cloths, and these designs are generally inspired by nature. The pattern of flowers and plants, fruits, and animal figures are used as a pattern. Since more than one motif is used, the final product usually has more than one pattern on the base. Weapons like daggers are also used as motifs, sometimes.

 

Types of Block Prints

There are more than ten block printing techniques that enhance the art form. But the most famous ones are:

Bagh:

 

This art is famous in Madhya Pradesh and is kept on the name of Bagh District, MP. The technique includes geometric shapes and bright colours.

 

Kalamkari:

 

 

This originated in Andhra Pradesh. The technique is quite an exception as the wax is dyeing the cloth blue, and the rest are hand-painted. 

 

Ajrakh:

 

The artform is from the western states of India and is the same as wooden block printing 

 

Dabu:

 

This is the special art of Rajasthan and involves a complicated process. It is a time-taking printing technique.

 

Sanganeri:

 

This is too from Rajasthan that involves hand printing technique. The fabric is marked for the artisans to print the intricate designs. 

 

Bagru:

 

The printing originated in the city of Jaipur, Rajasthan. The process involves everything similar to the Jaipur Block Printing, but lastly, the cloth is washed and boiled to get the perfect print. 

 

Modern Block Printing 

The modern technical way of Block Printing on fabric is done the same traditional wooden printing blocks. The textile industries have numerous artisans who took charge to save the cultural art from extinction. The Jaipur Hand Block Print is now globally recognized and has high demand all around.  

Indian traditional prints have hidden stories behind them. The story of their origination, creation, and passing it on to the generations. These stories are present in each fabric or material that has a splash of art on it. 

Also, we would love to know your favourite prints and why do they attract you?

 

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