Monday, February 27, 2012

Proof of Origin (Historical records):

Sanganer, an early 16th century town near Jaipur, developed into a flourishing Textile Production Center and was at its peak in the 19th Century. The art of hand-block printing and design was developed to a high level of sophistication, and this small sixteenth-century village blossomed into one of India’s busiest artisan centers as is evident from several specimens kept in National and Foreign Museums and/or description of this craft and skill given in several books and journals written by Indian and Foreign authors. Major findings inferred from these historical references are being reproduced for the purpose of a cohesive, clear and simplified overview.

Traces of History – Sanganer Hand Block Printing

“Atown founded by a Kachhawaha prince Sangaji in the early 16th century, Sanganerdeveloped into a printing centre in later centuries. Sir George Watt wrote inhis monumental work Indian Art at Delhi in 1902–03: “The Sanganer town ofJaipur State must, however, be regarded as the very metropolis of theCalico-Printing Craft of India so far as art conceptions and technique areconcerned. Besides, being a calico printing centre it was a prosperous town asthe Jaipur State records (preserved in the Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner)suggest. Sanganer was known for its bright and fast dyes. A collection ofmiscellaneous-sayings (dated Vikram Sanwat. 1853 = A.D. 1796), while mentioningcharacteristics of various objects and places refers to “Colours of Sanganer.”Dastur-al-amal reports of 1703 gives detailed description of taxes levied onthe printed fabrics, so does the rangkhana records of 1727. Though in rangkhanapapers the word jaxkbZ (dyeing) is used instead of NikbZ (printing). At thispoint one should remember that at Jaipur jaxkbZ stands sometimes for printingalso. For instance a leaf from rangkhana records (1727) reads, Þegewnh jaxkokus nh cwVS ikeß gave mahmudi for dyeing motifs (to be printed) in fugitivecolours.Therefore, one can safely presume that by the beginning of the 18th century thetown was known as a printing centre, otherwise its name would not have appearedin the records of dastur-al-amal and rangkhana (one of the thirty six karkhanasof the royal household). This department looked after the dying and printing offabrics. Moreover, the above mentioned text- Phutkar kata or miscellaneoussayings- also tells us that Sanganer was known for its colours. This wouldindicate that Chhippas of this town were already famous in early decades of the18th century. A dated example in the City Palace collection - a head-dress-also supports this saying. The head-dress, with date V.S. 1856 (A.D. 1799) in asquare octroi seal, has a simple leaf pattern arranged closely on the groundalong with a twig motif on the pallava. This is a highly finished work producedwith fine blocks and sombre colours. It is interesting to know that this leafmotif also appears on an eighteenth century pattern sheet in the samecollection. (Dr. Ms. Chandramani Singh, Textiles and Costumes from the MaharajaSawai Man Singh II Museum; Jaipur Printers; 1979, p. XXX and XXXIII)27As far as tradition goes, it is said that the great astronomer king-Sawai JaiSingh was responsible for giving impetus to the art of printing. Archivalsources confirm the oral tradition that Sawai Jai Singh invited artists andcraftsmen from different parts of the country to settle at Jaipur, among whomwere zari workers from Surat and printers from Gujarat in general. Presumablyhe also brought some craftsmen from Malwa because the Sanganer cotton printsshow an excellent combination of both of these traditions-the fineness ofMalawa, particularly of Sironj, and the lyrical quality of design from Gujarat.John Irwin does not go into details on the problems of migration but feelsthat, “Gujarat suffered badly during the wars of Auranzeb and later in theplundering raids of the Marathas. Many of the craftsmen migrated to seek moresettled employment in Rajasthan and other parts of north-west India. (Dr. Ms.Chandramani Singh, Textiles and Costumes from the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh IIMuseum; Jaipur Printers; 1979, page no. XXX and XXXIII)Another useful historical evidence about Sanganer Hand Block Printing is givenby the famous Textile Designer Ritu Kumar in her Book titled Costumes andTextiles of Royal India: Some excerpts are produced here “In the, Sanganer just10 miles south of Jaipur, the art of hand-block printing and design wasdeveloped to a high level of sophistication, and this small sixteenth-centuryvillage blossomed into one of India’s busiest artisan centers. The block-makerswere among the most innovative and creative of the royal craftsmen. Theyunderstood how to produce texture on cloth and how to enhance the richness ofthe base cotton fabric. The genius of their print designs lay in theirunderstanding of patterning fabric surfaces and the use of space. Thetraditional Jaipur buti, usually a floral or animal motif, was carved on to asmall square wooden block. The carved block was pressed on to a piece of paddedfabric dipped into a vegetable dye and the motif was then printed on to thecloth at carefully measured intervals. The same process was repeated withdifferent blocks and colours, resulting in beautiful geometric patterns ofastonishing regularity” (page 134).“The process of transferring the design on to cloth also requires skill. Apiece of fabric is spread over a low bench which is covered with a thick padmade of several layers of heavy cloth. The printer squats in front of thisbench with the dye in a pan or earthenware vessel by his side. Inside thisvessel is thick cloth pad saturated with dye. The block is pressed on to thispad and motif is then stamped on to the fabric. Different elements in thedesign require different colouring. For each colour impression the printer willhave prepared a separate pan. A design may consist of 10 colours or more, someof which may overlap or be circumscribed by others. A high degree of skill isrequired both for the placement of the design and even application of pressure.Blocks are also used for applying mordants, wax or any other resist in the sameway” (page 317).“Sanganer, in Rajasthan, became an important block-printing centre in theeighteenth century. The main contributions of Sanganer Printers to the Indianprinting industry were fast colours, and well-proportioned lyrical motifsdesigned for dupattas, odhanis, dress materials, soft furnishing, quilts andupholstery. These motifs had to suit the occasion, location and requirements ofthe patrons who commissioned the textiles”. (Ritu Kumar, Costumes and Textilesof Royal India; Christie’s Books Ltd; 1999, p. nos. 134 & 317).28“Sanganer, a village near Jaipur, became the prestigious work centre for suchprints with very elaborate techniques. A special feature of these prints is theuse of variety of designs in the same piece of cloth, but beautifullyharmonized. Gold and silver effects are also introduced. In the older piecesone sees flower petals worked with gold or silver wires. The present process isafter the basic colour printing has been done, the portions to be done in goldor silver are printed with an adhesive which is then allowed to dry while theleaf adheres to it. In the Jaipur Sanganer designs there is more of the flavourof the paintings of the earlier days, like stylized sunflowers, narcissuses,roses and other flowers with luxuriant foliage. The religious textiles consistof pieces in various sizes printed with the deity’s names: a special one usedin Shiva worship has the tiny drum (Damru) and the trident forming the crossborder and the dhatura flowers distributed in rows”. (Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay;Handicrafts of India; Indian Council for Cultural Relations in 1975; P. No.45)Gulab Kothari, presently the Chief Editor of Rajasthan Patrika has beautifullydescribed Sanganeri Hand Block Printing and its origin in his book “ColourfulTextiles of Rajasthan”. Relevant portion from the book as produced heretestimonies the origins of colorful printing at Sanganer in 18th Century.“Ancient and medieval literary texts often mention colourful textile producedin this region but actual example prior to 17th Century are not available inIndian collection with one exception that is Calico Museum of Textiles,Ahmedabad; which has acquired to number of small fragments found at A1 Fostat(Egypt). In the beginning of the century French archeologists while excavatingat A1 Fostar, old capital of Egypt, found dead bodies wrapped in coarse cottonfabric printed with bright colours. Motifs printed on these were exactly aliketo the motifs painted on the costume in Jain miniature painting from WesternIndia Rajasthan and Gujarat. Print with those motifs is being printed eventoday. This finding brought tremendous change in ideas and scholars startedbelieving that India was producing colourful printed fabric in 14-15th C. Whichwas exported to European and African Countries? Old folk songs and popularproverbs often refer to Chhint – printed fabric of Pali and bright colours ofSanganer. A number of headgears, safas and pagaris and material printed in the18th C. Sanganer are preserved in private and public collections”. (GulabKothari, Colourful Textiles of Rajasthan; Jaipur Printers Pvt. Ltd.; p. nos.41-42)“As far as the aesthetic imagination and technique is concerned the town ofSanganer in Jaipur may be considered the capital of the art of textile printingin India”. This is true even today. Sanganer has earned a name not only inRajasthan but in Europe, America and Japan also. Fabric printing is done by HinduChhipa families while most of the Muslim families make handmade paper. Fabricprinting factories dominate the suburbs of Sanganer. The fabrics printed hereare exported to several countries. The exports include various types of dressmaterials, readymade garments, bed sheets, pillow covers, curtain, cloth,dupattas, veils, sarees and quilts etc. The Chhipas adept in traditional arthave kept alike the rich heritage of hand printing with the choice designs ofvarious classes and communities. The rich gentry prefer dark yellow, green andpink colours and natural designs of wild flowers and leaves, creepers and plants and groves whereas the local people prefer red and black prints.(Kamlesh Mathur, Crafts and Craftsmen; Pointer Publisher, 2004, p. no. 59)29The Imperial Gazetteer of India Vol. XXI Oxford 1908 “The dyeing and stampingof cotton cloths is carried on largely in several states, particularly atSanganer in Jaipur. The chintzes are printed in colours by hand blocks, but theindustry is decaying owing to machine competition.”Popularity of Sanganeri Hand Block Printings have caught the interest of musiccomposers. One of the love songs mentions Sanganeri Hand Block Printing asfavorite item to be brought by the lover to the fiancé.This further confirms that Sanganer was a highly popular textile printingcentre during 18th century“The block printed cottons of Sanganer, near Jaipur has been renowned for theirprecious pattern and colouring for at least two hundred and fifty years”Handcrafted Indian Textiles, (Martand Singh, Rta Kapur Chisti & Rahul Jain,Handcrafted Indian Textiles; Luster Press Roli Books, 2000, p. no. 79)Sanganeri Printed costumes preserved and Displayed in M. S. Man Singh IIMuseum, JaipurThe textile collection of Maharaja Shri Man Singh II Museum includes costumesof kings, queens, their employees and children in the royal household. It is atreasure house for the study of social and cultural life of 17-19th centurynorthern India. The Museum has a comprehensive collection of dupattas, whichare pieces of cotton material of different sizes, with printed borders andpallava. These were to put over the shoulders or sometimes to wrap round theupper part of the body of the priests. It was an important part of a Brahman’scostume. Though people in the royal household never wore dupattas, the museumhas a large collection of them which were received as gifts from the priests ondifferent occasions such as festivals and birthdays. It was customary for apriest of a temple to present a dupatta and sweets (Prasad) to the Maharaja.Every year, hundreds of such dupattas were received, which form thiscollection. A number of them were printed at Sanganer and are still displayedin Museum. The year of production of these Dupatas is evident by the octroistamp on these dupattas.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

BLOCK PRINTING WORKSHOP


We have over 20 Skilled craftsman's and complete in house production of 600 meter fabric per day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

We are proud to be a part of this wonderful industry ... Sheril

Indian Print Artisans at Work
By AMY YEE
Published: May 26, 2011

JAIPUR, INDIA — From the roof of the mansion comes the rhythmic sound of clinking metal. Mujeeb Ullakhan, a wood block carver, sits on the stone floor with a small hammer and delicate chisel. With each tap, he carves part of the outline of a flower into a block of teak.
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 Wood carving is one step in the Indian tradition of hand-block printing, which for centuries has adorned royal robes, religious cloths and flowing skirts. Mr. Ullakhan, 50, began learning the craft from his father when he was 8. His grandfather was also a wood block carver. It takes Mr. Ullakhan 10 days to carve a large and intricate floral block.

 The Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, which opened in Jaipur in 2005 and touts itself as the only museum in India dedicated to the art of hand-block printing, gives a rare peek at the work of Indian block print artisans like Mr. Ullakhan.

 The small museum is housed in a restored 16th-century haveli, or traditional Indian mansion, near the historic Amber Fort in Jaipur. Exhibits spread over three floors display the intricate workmanship and painstaking process of different styles of hand-block printing.

 The museum was started by the founders of Anokhi, the popular Indian retailer of block-printed clothes, to create a venue to learn about the history and techniques of the craft, rather than showcasing a collection of antique textiles. (Anokhi clothes are also sold in Britain, Japan, France, Mauritius and Spain through various distributors.)

 “Until the museum opened there was no simple way for people to observe a block printer or carver at work — there was no easy access to information,” said Rachel Bracken-Singh, director of the museum and a designer at Anokhi.

 Glass cases display textiles and garments, with an emphasis on the production process and technique. For instance, one case displays a row of vests to document the 14 steps in a complicated printing and dyeing technique similar to the one used in Ajrakh, in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

 The museum opens with the history of the craft then progresses to displays about technique and contemporary clothing. A voluminous hippie caftan with bell sleeves and a sleek quilted jacket is one example of how designers revived and reinterpreted the tradition. Displays of tools like hammers, chisels, rasps and saws highlight the craftsmanship behind beautifying a simple piece of cloth.

 The museum focuses on the work of several block-printing communities in northern India and their distinctive techniques and styles. For example, block printing flourished in the town of Sanganer from the 18th century and royal patronage fueled domestic trade. Indian royalty wore the finest block-printed fabrics while ordinary citizens, mostly men, wore simpler designs.

 In the village of Bagru, patterns traditionally denoted marital status and caste. For example, gardeners wore cloth patterned with flowers, widows could not wear a dagger pattern and middle-aged women wore marigold patterns.

 In spite of the legacy of block printing in India, demand diminished in the early 20th century with the advent of cheaper, machine-made fabrics and chemical dyes instead of vegetables dyes. By the 1950s, even the market for Sanganer hand-block printed fabric had sharply declined.

 The tradition, however, was revived in the late 1960s when Western designers arrived in India as part of the “hippie trail” and began using hand-block print textiles to make modern, fashionable clothing for export.

 Until exporters entered the market there was little innovation in production, design or color. But new tastes and a viable market helped jump start creativity. “In some ways the only way to keep the tradition alive is to contemporize it,” Ms. Bracken-Singh said.

 Anokhi’s own relationship with Sanganer spans more than four decades. The company began sourcing textiles from the community when it established itself in Jaipur in 1970. Faith and John Singh, a husband-wife team, founded Anokhi initially for export to London shops (she is British and he is Indian). But about a decade ago Anokhi began to focus on its home market. Since 2004 India has been Anokhi’s largest market as incomes rise and taste for stylish block-printed fabrics develops. Prices for hand-block print clothes range from 700 rupees, or about $15, for a cotton shirt to 2,500 rupees for a caftan.

 Although new orders helped revive hand-block printing, craftspeople still struggled. In 1981 Sanganer was ravaged by floods and artisans’ tools and workshops were swept away. Many in the village turned to the less labor-intensive process of screen printing.

 The Anokhi museum aims to preserve the craft; it is also a monument of preservation in itself. When the Singh family bought the haveli on a whim in 1989, the building was in ruins. Restoration using traditional techniques was finished in 1995, though the concept of a museum would come several years later. With its apricot-colored walls and carved windows, the haveli is remarkable; it received a Unesco award for building preservation in 2000.

 It took two years to design and build the museum, with funds from Anokhi. The French architect Stephane Paumier was hired to design the museum’s interiors and display cases.

 By creating such a venue, Anokhi Museum hopes to both cherish and energize block printing, said Ms. Bracken-Singh. “The craftsperson needs to have pride in his or her work to continue and the work needs to be respected.”

Friday, June 4, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Raaga Block Printed Textilkes P Ltd.

Raaga Block Printed Textilkes P Ltd.: "Raaga Block Printed Textiles P. Ltd, established in 2009, ideals have been those of conservation and development, through the effort of design, promotion and..."

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