Block Print of Rajasthan
Bagru, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Sanganer, Barmer and Pali are the different parts of Rajasthan which manufacture block printed garments and textiles. Motifs include prints of Gods and Goddesses, birds and animals, though the patterns vary between different regions of Rajasthan. Calico printed 'sarees', bed covers and quilts are exclusive crafts of Sanganer area of this state. The Calico print is done in bold colours and diagonal columns on the garments. 'Doo rookhi' print is another form of block print which is popular here. 'Dabu' prints and 'Syahi-Begar' prints are the block prints which belong to Bagru. 'Sikar' and 'Shekhawati' block prints comprise of motifs of camels, lions and peacocks. The floral patterns of Bagru and Sanganer are inspired by Persian designs, through Sanganeri motifs are considered the most sophisticated of all the regions.
Rajasthan carries out block printing with the help of wooden blocks. 'Laharia' is a special pattern of block printing and turbans or 'odhanis' with this motif are worn on festive occasions like 'Teej'. 'Bandhani' crafts are another type of block prints which are sought after by thousands of natives and tourists. The 'Chhipa' community of the Rajasthani villages is involved in producing this print. In ancient ages, Jaipur's royal family was the main patron of block printing. It was almost on the blink of extinction and finally was revived in the 70s due to the patronage of certain exponents. 'Salwar-kameez', sarees, curtains, 'dupattas', scarves and yardages are the main products are block printed. The Rajasthan Small Scale Industries at Jaipur and the All India Handicrafts Board at Delhi are promoting this rare craft and encouraging the growth of block printed garments in Rajasthan.
Block print craftsmen of Rajasthan utilize different techniques of block printings are resist printing, discharge printing and direct printing. The Barmer block print of Rajasthan is famous for its prints of red chillies with blue-black outlines and there are flower-laden trees in the surroundings.
Block Print of Gujarat
'Paithapur' families of Gujarat practise block printing in Gujarat. Surat, Ahmedabad, Pethapur and Kutch region of Gujarat are well-known for their block printed products. Intricate blocks are prepared by the Paithapur communities in a process known as 'mud resist' print. Such prints are also referred to as 'sodagiri' (trader) prints. 'Batik' prints and Bandhani block prints (which are also known as tie and dye print) are also associated to Kutch. Motifs of dancing girls, animals and birds, in red and black patterns are done in the Kutch region. Wall hangings, dress materials, bed sheets and bed covers and many other items are traded in Surat, which are block printed and consist of bright coloured motifs like red, black, green which are mostly traditional.
Sarees of Baroda and Ahmedabad are adorned with mango patterns. Vasna, Jamnagar, Porbandar, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Jetpur are the other areas of Gujarat which specialise in block printing. The fabrics used are termed as 'Ajrakh'. Generally, geometric motifs are used in this craft. The word 'Ajrakh' means 'keep it today'. Some experts have asserted that the word Ajrakh is derived from an Arabic term which means blue, which may be an appropriate naming due to its indigo hue. Ajrakh crafts are prepared with natural dyes, chemical dyes and silk or cotton fabrics. Gujarat's 'Khatri' community has been engaged in this craft since many centuries and generations. Nowadays, certain 'Harijans' also practise this craft after obtaining training from the Khatris. Khavda and Dhamanka are the two significant centres of this craft. Ajrakh printed garments and other Gujarati block prints have impressed even overseas markets.
Block Print of Maharashtra
Hand block printing is extensively done in the Vidarbha area of Maharashtra. The artisans engaged in this craft are called 'bavasars' in this state. Quilts, floor coverings and bed covers are the various products which utilize block print, wherein the dominant colours are red and black. Metal blocks as well as wooden blocks are used by Maharashtrian craftsmen to deck up the block print fabrics. A particular motif termed as 'Tree of Life' is widely utilized here. Hand-woven silk garments and chiffon comprise the base materials for block printing. Most of the block print practitioners of Maharashtra are migrants from other parts of India.
The block prints of Western India are quite favourable amongst the local residents as well as the innumerable tourists who visit these places. Rajasthan is the most famous destination if one is looking forward to purchase block printed products, among the other Indian states of Western India. Utilitarian items and those meant for decorative purposes employ the craft of block printing. Various kinds of motifs are crafted by the block print artisans of these portions of India.
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