Questions & Answers
About Bagh Print in Bagh Madhya Pradesh Dhar Road, BaghBAGH PRINT
Bagh Prints get their name from Bagh, a small town in Dhar District of Madhya Pradesh.
80% of the population of this are a tribal. These prints therefore were originally used for garments used by the tribal’s.
Khatri’s who are the printers came from Sind which is to this day know for its prints. The fabric used is mostly cotton – 100 counts for sarees and duppatta and for bedspreads, table cloths, cushions, etc.
The process is still as it was several years ago with the brightness of colours depending on the quality of rinse water, which varies from season to season. The best results are observed when the water is clean.
The fabric is first washed in plain water. It is then softened with soaking in a mixture water goat/ sheep dung, sanchora(raw sea salt) and arandi oil and pounding it with the feet for at least one hour. Rinsed through plain water, it is dried to be kept ready for the next step dipping and rinsing it in water is done at least 3 times. This process should be undertaken near the river bank. Due to shortage of river water, it is now done at workshop by printers who have built cemented tanks for this purpose.
Harara powder is mixed in water into which this fabric is immersed and kept for a minimum of half an hour. This gives it a slightly yellow based on which the printing is done.
In Bagh two primary colours are used red and black. Red colour is prepared by mixing alum with water and chiya powder (tamarind seed) and boiling it for an hour and a half, it is stored in a pot and kept for use as and when required. For black colour iron sulphate is used. A little colour is mixed in this solution so that the printed portion is visible. This is a fugitive colour (often pink) which disappears in the first river wash.
The blocks used by the printers are made in wood. Each design has a name and for traditional prints lay outs are fixed and predetermined. For printing as it is prevalent how there is a very great scope for changing lay outs for maximum effectivity.
After printing the material is dried in the sun. It is taken kept for atleast 8 days for the colour to set it. It is taken to the river for washing in running water, so that the superfluous colour flows away with the running water without leaving smudges and stains on the printed fabric. At this point, the colour and designs begin to show up. Since Baghini River is dry the printers have to go to dry Narmada which is 5 to 6 hours to stand knee deep in water and manipulate the material in such a way that the colour that runs out does not touch any other part of fabric. Drying done on river bank only.
Bhatti is the next step when the printed and river washed fabric is boiled in water to which alizarin and dhavra flowers are added. Heat is increased gradually by adding small quantity of fire wood in the furnace and increasing it gradually its constantly turned around by 2 men who are carrying long stick for the purpose.
After washing again with plain water, it is dried and kept ready for the next process which is bleaching it. Bleach is mixed in water and kept aside to be added to plain water as each piece is immersed, squeezed and dried. Its over drying is to be done each piece has to go through the process of bichalana, bhatti and bleach again. This is a complicated process which required a lot of expertise and manual labour and several trips to the river before the beautiful piece comes into your hands.
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