Bagru Dabu Block Printing
The Chippa community, the traditional printers of this region, use the mud-resist printing technique with vegetable dyes to create densely patterned and richly colored textiles that cater to the functional and sartorial requirements of local communities. Today, it is considered to be one of the most traditional and widely used print techniques.
The motifs for the print are picked from nature and surrounding elements, and then crafted onto wooden blocks. This method of Bagru block printing gets its name from the word dabaana, meaning ‘to press’. Although all the motifs are derived from vegetable and floral forms, each bears a unique association with a specific community, thus serving as a means of identifying the wearer.
One of the many stories of the discovery of Dabu occurs in the eighth century in a village near Akola, Rajasthan. A Rangrez (cloth dyer) accidently put in his mud speckled dhoti from the previous day with the clothes to be dyed in the indigo vat. He was surprised to find an odd-one-out the next day, amongst the dyed fabrics, left out to dry the parts where the earth rested; the dye did not blot on and retained the original color, and thus the method was discovered!