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Dyed Textile Bandhani
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Dyed Textile Bandhani

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Different forms of tie and dye have been practiced in India. Indian tie & dye also known as Bandhani and Bandhej in Rajasthan is a traditional form of tie and dye which began about 5000 years ago. It is the oldest tie and dye tradition still in practice. Dyes date back to antiquity when primitive societies discovered that colors could be extracted from various plants, flowers, leaves, bark, etc., which were applied to cloth and other fabrics. Even though color was applied they didn't consider this dyeing. It was simply a form of embellishment. For them dyeing was the art of using color to form a permanent bond with fiber in a prepared dye bath. Natural colors have been used in India since ancient times and are considered to be the origin of the art of dyeing. Tie and dye cloths were the part of the merchandise of the early traders.

It is difficult to trace the origins of this craft to any particular area. According to some references it first developed in Jaipur in the form of Leheriya. But it is also widely believed that it was brought to Kutch from Sindh by Muslim Khatris who are still the largest community involved in the craft. Reference of this art is also found in Bana Bhatt's Harshacharitra and the patterns are seen on Ajanta sculptures

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Dyed Textile- Lahariya
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Dyed Textile- Lahariya

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Rajasthan is well known for its lehriya (waves) pattern. This is one of the so many tie and dye patterns that results in wavy pattern, which symbolizes water waves.

The stripes of different colors are usually arranged diagonally and use two colors are common. The two colors alternate in waves. Originally, the two colors used were the auspicious colors of yellow and red.

Turbans, odhnis and saris with laheriya are liked and worn all around year but carry a special meaning on and around the time of Teej festival and monsoon. Lahariya is dyed in different colours and Udaipur is famous for this craft.

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Sanganeri Printing Fabric
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Sanganer is situated about 8 kilometers south-east of Jaipur city. Prior to the 17th century, there is no mention of Sanganer as a centre of printing. At that time Sanganer was known as a centre of plain and dyed clothes. It was probably towards the end of the 17th century that this art form developed here. Probably due to war with Emperor Auranngzeb and the repeated invasions of the Marathas, many craftsmen (Printers) from the neighboring state Gujarat came and settled in Rajasthan. By the end of the 18th century this industry was fully developed in Sanganer. It is famous for dyeing and printing of colorful dresses, bed sheets, curtains, dress material and variety of other textiles. Bulk of the textile products of these industries is exported. The total area of Sanganer is about 635.5 Sq. km out of which, 12.9 Sq. km comprises the urban area. Most of the textile industries of Sanganer are concentrated in this urban area. There are estimated to be around 500 block and screenprinting units in Sanganer. There are at present, about 125 hand block printing units in Sanganer. Sanganer was renowned for its small decorative and delicate floral patterns, called, 'boota-booties' which was printed on fine cotton and silk.

The dyers and block makers came from Sindh and Punjab and settled here. The printers belong to chhipa community. They are all Hindus and are followers of the renowned Marathi Saint Namdev. Almost every member of the 'Chippa' family is involved in the washing, dyeing and printing of clothes. While, the printers are predominantly Hindus, majority of dyers and block makers are Muslims.Water of the Saraswati River that used to flow graciously through Sanganer, was known for its special quality that used to bring out radiance from the natural dyed fabric. This was major source of inspiration for the printing community.

In older days, the fabric was printed mainly for use of royal families and rich traders but now it is used as part of clothing for urban families and also exported. 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, 'mulmu' (cotton voile), 'latha' (sheeting fabrics) and cambric etc. are sourced from Jaipur.On Sanganeri 'chintz' (printed cloth) usually, yellow, green blue (with different tones) are used as the background. These days one rarely comes across the variety of shades that were found in the old Sanganeri 'chintz' but still the 'chhip'; for sanganer have the incomparable know-how of matching the back ground on base colour with colours of the prints

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Akola Print Fabric
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Akola Print Fabric

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Akola is a craft cluster in the Udaipur district of Rajasthan. The Akola region is renowned for hand block printing. The dabu or mud resist printing of this region is of two specific types namely phetia and nangna. These are exclusive to this area. The former is worn primarily by the women of the Jat and Chaudhury castes especially after childbirth or during marriages while the latter were worn by the Gujjar women. The resist is made by a local gum/ bedja and oil and the previously used resist by boiling for several hours. The napthol/alizarinedyed cloth is stamped with the metal blocks. The ash dust is rubbed on the surface to avoid hot resist to stick when folded. Three types of mud resist are used;chuna/lime or kirana is the weakest resist which is used for fine outlines. Mitti/mud is used when the cloth needs to be immersed in indigo a few times and rait/sand, the strongest of resist is used for most absorbent colours like pomegranate and ferrous dyes. A range of products like ghaghra/fabric, odhani-veil cloth, yardage and dupatta-stole

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History of Block Printing Fabric
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Records show that as far back as the 12th century, several centers in the south, on the western and eastern coasts of India became renowned for their excellent printed cotton. On the southeastern coast the brush or kalam (pen) was used, and the resist applied by the same method. In the medieval age printing and dyeing of cottons was specially developed in Rajasthan. In Gujarat the use of wooden blocks for printing was more common.
Tents were made from printed fabrics and soon they became necessary part of royal processions. The seasons largely influenced the integration of the highly creative processes of weaving, spinning, dyeing and printing. Festivals also dictated this activity. Block printing is a special form of printing first developed in China. The earliest known example with an actual date is a copy of the Diamond Sutra from 868 A.D (currently in the British Museum), though the practice of block printing is probably about two thousand years old
Trade in cotton cloth is said to have existed between India and Babylon from Buddha's time. Printed and woven cloths traveled to Indonesia, Malaya and the Far East. In the 17th century, Surat was established as a prominent center for export of painted and printed calicos, covering an extensive range in quality. Cheaper printed cloth came from Ahmedabad and other centers, and strangely enough Sanganer was not such a famous center for printing as it is today

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