Block Printing – Know the History & Types | Folkways

In the old days when technology was just a word, people used to decorate or design their fabric with hands or wooden blocks, called block printing.

The simple fabric looks good but not as much as with prints. Well, we are all love-struck with clothes. Anything that helps us look attractive must be plentiful in our possession. We all enjoy dressing in clothes that are in style and that are worn by the fashionistas who are our fashion “gurus” these days. Nothing can deny the truth that fashion trends come and go, yet some things never go out of style. Are you curious as to what it is? Hand block print fabric for clothing styles, on the other hand, never goes out of style.


Did you ever touch the wooden block with design, like how well they are carved with minor detailings?

This fascinating method involves carving and cutting wood blocks into various designs, which are then put on fabric to make exquisite garments and accessories. Here are a few of the hand block printing trends that are now popular in India.

Block Print – History

Block printing has a long history, which began in China in the third century. It was first discovered in Egypt and other regions of Asia in the 4th century, from where it spread to Europe and the rest of the world. Diamond Sutra, from 868 AD, is the earliest known example of a block print bearing an exact date.

It is currently on display at the British Museum in London. Certain parts of the Indian subcontinent, such as the south, east, and west coasts, were known for their printed textiles in the 12th century. The prints were transferred to fabric with a pen or kalam (brush) on the southern shore.

Gujarat printed fabrics utilizing specialized blocks, while Rajasthan specialized in developing printing and dyeing cotton. Seasons regulated the textile processes of spinning, weaving, printing, and dyeing, as well as the festivals that aided its growth.

The block-printed textiles flourished under royal patronage since they were used by the royals. Block printing, in fact, is considered to have peaked during the Mughal Empire, when such textiles were utilized in the royal household.

Types of Block printing

In different sections of India, the block printing trend has evolved in diverse ways. While the method of cutting blocks and imprinting them on fabric is fairly standard, the patterns, dyes used, and technical aspects differ.

  • Sanganeri prints from Rajasthan
    Sanganeri, a type of block printing that originated in Rajasthan, is used to decorate both home decor and clothing.
  • Bagh prints from Madhya Pradesh
    The name comes from the Bagh district in Madhya Pradesh, where the technique is most commonly used. It primarily refers to a hand-block printing technique in which the colors utilized are entirely natural.
  • Ajrak from Gujarat’s Kutch region
    A type of block-printed shawl from India’s western states that features designs created with stamps and block printing.
  • Kalamkari from Andhra Pradesh’s
    Kalamkari is a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton fabric that originated in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Bandhani from Gujrat
    Bandhani is a tie-and-dye technique that dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization and is popular with people of all ages.
  • Dabu from Rajasthan
    Dabu or daboo is a wonderful mud resist hand block printing technique that originated in Rajasthan. It has withstood the test of time with some difficulty and is a labor-intensive printing technique with numerous phases and a lot of work.

Block printing is a rich and historically significant skill that has long been used extensively in the textile industry. It is a method that has lasted the test of time. Witnessing and participating in the cultural and historical evolution of the society it has been and continues to be a part of demonstrates its ability to adapt to change.

All of India’s block printing techniques and tie-and-dye designs are testaments to the country’s rich history and past. These hand block printing processes are kept alive and trendy around the world via creativity, craftsmanship, and a lot of effort. The popular phrase “unity in diversity” is aided by a variety of designs and strategies. The rich source of culture that has been passed down and delicately kept in the country is the range of diverse colors combined with exquisite designs.

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