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Bagh print is a traditional hand block print with natural colors. Its name is derived from the village Bagh on the banks of the Bagh River in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
The Indian craftsman, Ismail Sulemanji Khatri gave a new meaning to the generations old block printing craft of Bagh, by transforming it into an elegant, much popular print today. From a near forgotten tribal art, today Bagh prints have left an imprint in the textile and art Industry. Originally used only on lehengas and ghagras, today the prints create beautiful sarees, dress materials, bed covers and more.
Apart from speaking different moods and showcasing the beautiful culture of India, the prints have a distinctive style and glamour. Also the Bagh textiles are extremely soft, after being washed in the Bhagini River.
For printing, a small sized plastic tray is prepared with a bamboo jaali fitted in on which black or red paste is applied. Over this, layers of thick wet cloth are placed which soak-in the colours. The block is then dipped into it and placed with a light touch on the fabric which is stretched on a table with a stone slab covered with seven layers of jute. Once the printing is done, the sari is dried and kept aside for eight days. The final stage is to hold it in running water of the Bhagini. Thereafter, it is dried again and put in the bhatti mixed with dhawala flowers and alzarin. Bleaching and drying follow. And finally, a beautiful Bagh textile is ready.
The process of printing and fabric treatment is a multi-layered process that includes colour treatment, fabric soaking, boiling, drying, washing and printing. These steps are usually repeated depending on the number of colours to be used on the fabric.
The process begins with soaking the fabric in raw salt, hot water and goat dung. The slight yellow colour which the fabric derives is owing to this stage. Next, the fabric is washed, spread out, and dried in the open. Production process is painstaking and manual. During this period, the typical Bagh red colour is extracted by soaking and boiling tamarind seeds and alum in a huge copper vessel. The immediate colour obtained is a rich fuchsia pink.
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