Alizarin, Madder, Parijaat, Natural Dye, Bagh Print, Ajrakh, Puru Print, Hand block print, Dabu

Showing posts with label craftsman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label craftsman. Show all posts

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Alizarin hand block printing in India


Alzarin printing is one of the most practiced techniques of hand block printing in India. It is a kind of direct mordant based hand block printing technique. It is known as alizarin print because of use of alizarin as an essential element in the dyeing process. It is also known as syahi (Black) & begar (Alum) work by the traditional craftsman.

In this block printing technique basically two natural colors available made from natural elements are red and black. To get red color first alum mordant is printed and then dyed with alizarin (Madder or al roots) to get red color but today synthetic alizarin is used in the process due to easy availability and cost factor and black color extracted by fermenting jaggery powder with iron rust. 

Today in India few famous traditional block printing centers for alizarin printing are Bagh, Bagru and Tarapur. Bagh and Tarapur situated in Madhya Pradesh and Bagru is in Rajasthan. Few decades ago Sanganer, Bhuj, Surat and other centers were also famous for this style of hand block printing but due to market pressure of lowering the prices and limitation of colors in the process most of the centers converted into pigment printing or stopped work. 

Every area has its own geographical specialty and quite famous for it. Bagh is famous for its vibrant red and Tarapur is famous for its zed black.

Geographical differences in Alizarin Printing

Bagh print is one of the famous form of alizarin hand block printing craft of India, practiced in tribal village “Bagh” situated at the banks of Baghini River in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. Minerals found in the Baghini river water gave natural color more vibrancy and increase its fastness. Due to river water printing with alum gives a vibrant red color while dyeing with alizarin.

Bagh Print Cotton Fabric

Due to its local specialty it got geographical indicated brand status in the year 2009. Some 400 years ago few families of "Khatri Community" migrated from Sindh province in today’s Pakistan to Manavar and then Bagh. Another theory says few families of "Khatri" community from "Bherogarh" Village near Ujjain migrated to Manavar and then Bagh in search of new market to continue the tradition of hand block printing. 

National awardee late Ismail Sulemanji Khatri made this art of hand blocks printing famous by experimenting with urban outfits and variety of designs. Before 1960 hand block printers from Bagh were known as alizarin printers because of use of alizarin in the process but today they are famous as Bagh printers due to geographical uniqueness associated with the craft. In 2009 it got geographical indication from the government of India.

Bagru print is also a famous hand block printing technique done in Bagru village of Rajasthan situated on Jaipur-Ajmer highway 30 kilometers away from Jaipur. Here also alizarin printing is done which got Geographical Indication for its local specialty. Printing is done in off white background. 

In Bagru alizarin gives a beautiful brick red shade. It is one of the oldest hand block printing center in Rajasthan where still traditional hand block printing techniques mainly Dabu printing is practiced along with alizarin hand block print. "Chhippa Community" of Bagru associate themselves with the tradition and lineage of "Sant Namdev" tailor by profession and one of the famous saint of "Bhakti tradition" in India lived during 13th century.

Ummedpura-Tarapur village of Madhya Pradesh alizarin hand block printing is also practiced. They are still using “Kath” (Vegetable black color) using jiggery powder and iron rust instead of “kashish” (Readymade vegetable black color) now commonly used to prepare black color. It is a very small village situated on the banks of “Ghambhiri” river having population of 2500 to 3000.
Tarapur is 270 kilometers away from Indore the industrial capital of Madhya Pradesh. For red color first alum as mordant is printed using tamarind seed powder paste and then dyed with alizarin. Now a day synthetic alizarin is used unlike 50 years ago roots of morinda tinctoria were used. Here alizarin gives beautiful maroon red shade.

Alizarin print mal cotton from Tarapur

“Chippa” community is practicing the craft of hand block printing in Tarapur since 400 years, who claims to belong to the lineage of Sant Namdev, a famous saint of “Bhakti tradition” in India. 10-15 years back some 30-40 families of “Chippa community” were involved in this craft restricted to the 3-4 families today. It’s all due to tough competition from the chemical screen printing and imitating of designs by machine printers selling it at cheaper prices than hand block printing. But they are still following the traditional methods in preparing the fabrics using semi-vegetable colors.

To purchase sarees or fabrics you can explore ecofab 

Bagh & Bagru Print: Similar process but different traditions

Traditional  Process of Alizarin Printing  1. Purchase of kora/unbleached fabric 2.  Scouring (Cleaning of fabrics locally known ...