Bagh Block Printing
Bagh, Madhya Pradesh
Bagh block printing is a specific kind of block printing technique from the Bagh area in Madhya Pradesh. Bagh block printing is closely linked with the garment traditions of the Bhil and Bhilala tribes of Jhabua and Dhar. Usually, sari lengths called lugda, odhani or veil cloth, and men’s shoulder cloth were block printed on fabrics of light to medium weight. The printers, known as Khatris, trace their origin to Rajasthan and are Hindus who converted to Islam but retained the name Khatri.
These block printers migrated to Bagh because of the high copper content in the waters of the Bagh river. that increases the depth of colour. Bagh prints are characterized by geometric patterns of floral motifs done on black, blue, and red colour grounds. Today, red obtained by using alizarin and black made by fermenting iron filings in jaggery are more prevalent. The lugda and odhani designs have large cross-borders printed with at least five to seven different narrow bel designs. Cloth meant to be printed has to be softened in a mixture of castor oil, alkali, and goat dung.
The fabric is treated with myrobalan to make it receptive to the dye. The mordant alum is mixed with glue and tamarind seeds and printed on the cloth. This is followed by printing black colour. The fabric is finally dipped in alizarin to give it a red colour. Dhawda flowers are added to alizarin bath to increase the brilliancy of the colour.