Sanganer and Bagru Prints



The desert state of Rajasthan in India is renowned for its exuberant art and craft. One of Rajasthan's most popular handicrafts is block printed fabric. The Sanganer and Bagru prints of this state are celebrated all over the country, and have acquired international acclaim as well. They adorn garments, bedspreads, curtains, table linen, and other household decoration items. Apart from the Sanganer and Bagru prints, those of Barmer and Pali are also well-known.

Sanganer Prints :

The block printed textiles of Sanganer became famous in the 16 th and 17 th centuries in Europe, when the East India Company began to export them in bulk. Today, there are over 154 block printing units in Sanganer, and these employ around 20,000 people. There are around 3000 families engaged in this Rajasthani craft.

The block prints of Sanganer are mostly executed on a white or off-white background, using screen printers or wooden blocks. They are colorful patterns of sunflowers, roses, geometric designs. Sanganer prints are known for their fine and intricate detailing. The artists of this region in Rajasthan use both vegetable and chemical dyes for their creations. Often, they employ the technique of calico printing. In this, the outlines are first printed; only after that,

are the colors filled in. These designs are then repeated in diagonal rows. The doo-rookhi style of printing is also popular in Sanganer. This is printing done on both sides of the fabric.

Bagru Prints:

Jaipur is perhaps one of the most culturally rich areas of Rajasthan. From this city, the Chippas moved to Bagru around 300 years ago. They made it their home, and one of Rajasthan's most important centers of hand block printing .

The Sanganer and Bagru prints are very similar, but the latter employ a narrower range of colors. Moreover, unlike the Sanganer prints which are always on a white or off-white background, the prints of Bagru are mostly red and black and blue. The Syahi-Begar prints are a combination of black and yellow ochre or cream. The Dabu prints are created by hiding them from dye, by applying a resist. Bagru prints are characterized by circular designs, as well as linear and floral patterns.

In both the Sanganer and Bagru prints, the colors are picked carefully. Each has a separate significance. For instance, red is the color of love, yellow of spring, indigo of Lord Krishna, and saffron of the yogi (seer). The wooden blocks that are used are made of teak wood. And traditionally, vegetable dyes made of madder, pomegranate rind, indigo, and turmeric are used. These have now been largely replaced by chemical dyes. Often, the fabric is dyed before it is printed.

Handicrafts Trade
Suggested Reading