Block Printing is an ancient craft form of Rajasthan that is being practiced since time immemorial. Natural colors are used in Block Printing. Rajasthan is well known for the art of block printing that is hugely practiced there even till date. The process of doing block printing flourished since the 12th century when the art received a royal patronage from the kings of the era. Block Printing is done on cotton fabrics. Rajasthan is an important center in India where block printing has gained a good prominence and the designs of the block printing that originated in Rajasthan are considered the most popular and best of all other designs.
The printing involves laying the cloth/fabric, which is to be printed, on flat tables and impressions are made using the beautifully carved blocks. In case of direct printing, the block is dipped in the colored dye and impressions are made. In case of resist dyeing, impression of an impermeable material (clay, resin, wax etc) is made on the fabric, which is then dyed in the desired shade. The block image remains unprinted and reappears in reverse. Traditionally natural and vegetable sources were used for dyes. But with the advent of synthetic dyes, things have changed, not necessarily for good. The ease of usage and the availability of synthetic dyes have replaced the vegetable dye in many cases.
Sanganer, near Jaipur, is famous for its fine hand block printing in subdued colors. Hand block printing was patronised by the royal family. Saganer has become a export hub for hand block print export. The Sanganeri Print is visible from small flower motifs like stylised sunflowers, narcissuses, roses, and other flowers of luxuriant foliage like daturas, rudrakshas, and arkas.
The principal items printed here include sarees, dupattas, salwar-kameez, bed cover, curtains, scarves, and printed yardages (running cloth material), etc. Both local and imported cloth material are used. At present,’ mulmul’ (cotton voile), ‘latha’ (sheeting fabrics) and cambric etc. are sourced from Jaipur.
This elaborate work needs expertly cut mirror images blocks to print the usually asymmetrical Mughal style designs. Although Sanganer is well known for producing fine block printed textiles on off white or pastel backgrounds, today a wide range of textiles are produced with both dark and pale grounds.
Sanganeri Hand Block Textiles and Furnishings have been recognized to have a unique identity in manufacturing and in belonging to the area of Sanganer.