Saturday 13 April 2019

What are the three Primary Colors used in Traditional Handblock Printing of Rajasthan

Here we are talking about the handblock printing process as practiced in the towns of Bagru, Pipar and Balotra. The three primary colors used are 1. Red 2. Blue 3. Yellow

A combination of these produce all the different colors.

  1. The application of red dye is called Ghan Rangai. For ghan grangai, the alum mordanted fabric is introduced into a heated water bath along with Alizarin. It produces the red, wherever the fabric is mordanted with Alum.
  2. The application of Indigo for producing blue color is called Nil Rangai. In this an Indigo dye vat is prepared and fabric is introduced into it and the fabric is dipped into it for 5 to 10 minutes. Then it is taken out and spread into the sun. After this it is again introduced into the bath, this goes on until the required color depth is obtained
  3. The third primary shade, yellow is obtained using Nasphal Putai. Nasphal dye is a cold solution of anar ka chhilka ( pomegranate rind) and haldi ( turmeric) which is typically smeared ( Potai or putai) onto the cloth surface after all other dye and print process has been completed.  As an overdye, nasphal generates a number of other shades: over indigo it creates green, over kasumal it gives orange, and over red dyed areas it results in softer red-ochre shades. This smearing is done quickly and after smearing, the cloth is laid in the sun "until it smells cooked". After that it is rinsed in Alum solution, dried and aged and washed thoroughly. 

Buy my books at

Difference between Sanganer and Bagru/Pipar/Balotra styles of Handblock Printing

 In Sanganer and Jaipur Style of printing, red and black motifs are printed on a yellowish cream ground- This is called the Syahi Begar Style.

In the printing paste Syahi ( Iron acetate) and Begar ( Alum) are the mordanting components. Traditionally Potash Alum is used which is a hydrated double sulphate of aluminium or potassium. These days aluminium sulphate is used.

This is how Syahi paste is made - Scrap iron horseshoes are removed from rust by scorching, then mixed with Gur or sheera ( Unrefined molasses) and covered with plane water, during which the sugar ferments and reacts with iron to make iron acetate solution.

To give deepar shades of red during dyeing, a little of syahi paste is sometimes blended to the begar mix.

Interestingly proportions are tested and judged by taste- large amount of alum (producing deeper shades) are described as producing a 'crackle' on the tongue. 

Before Syahi and Begar is applied, the cloth is first desized using local methods ( Hari Sarna), then it is prepared for mordanting using Myrobalan (Harda or Peela Karna).

Usually any areas where black is required are printed first, using syahi paste. Following this, where red is required will be filled in using the begar ( alum mordant) paste.

In Pipar/Sanganer/Balotra, apart from the above methods, they are also printed using indigo-dabu resist methods, which produces colored red and yellow motifs on blue, green and dark-browinsh backgrounds.

Buy my books at
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Total Pageviews