CHAPTER I . PRINTED TEXTILES
Bagru Block Print
Bagru is known for centuries for its natural dyeing, syhai begar printing, indigo dyeing and wooden hand block printing.
THE BAGRU FROM THE CHHIPA, IN BAGRU
Bagru, a town at the outskirts of Jaipur, in Rajasthan is one of the textile hubs of India. It is known for centuries for its natural dyeing, Syahi Begar printing, indigo dyeing and wooden hand block printing.
Since at least 400 years, Bagru has been home to the Chhipa clan. If combining two Nepal Bhasa words, chhi means "to dye" and pa means “to leave something to bask in sun”.
This etymological theory feels especially true as you walk through the vast communal drying fields that connect the Chhipa Mohalla (the village printers’ quarters). The air here is redolent with the fragrance of drying fabric, the ground and the concrete walls are covered in oranges, blues, and pinks.
Everywhere you turn in Bagru there is a scene that will make you stop!
In traditional Bagru block printting, the cloth has a cream-coloured or a dyed base, the prints use natural and organic designs, but also incorporate geometric shapes - such as leher (waves), chaupad (checks), kangura (triangles), and jaali (a grid trellis pattern that might has been adapted from Islamic architecture).
SYAHI BEGAR TECHNIQUE
Syahi Begar is one of the traditional hand block print techniques where the prints result from the combination of red, black and yellow ochre or cream. Syahi black color is made by keeping the mixture of horseshoe iron, water and jaggery, in an earth pot for around 15-20 days during the summer; in the winter, it takes around 6 weeks to get ready. Then tamarind seed powder is mixed to this mixture and boiled.
Begar red color is made by mixing Alum (fitkari ), Madder (lal mitti ) and juice of babool gond.
This process involves pre-washing and soaking the fabric in fresh water and turmoil oil for 24 hours, in order to remove all starch, dust or other contaminants.
The fabric is then beaten, to remove leftover dust, and dyed in the Harda (merubelum powder) solution to allow the natural dyes to adhere to the fabric and become colorfast. The typical yellow dye or colour is obtained from the Harda fruit.