Bagru & Dabu

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Bagru is a small town near Jaipur, known for traditional hand block printing and Dabu printing. Designs cut out on wooden blocks are transferred into textiles using 2 styles - direct printing and resist dye style (Dabu). 

In the Dabu hand block printing technique, mud is used as a resist in the dyeing process. Ingredients in the Dabu (mud) include mud from dried up lake beds, wheat powder, gum and lime, mixed and sieved through a fine muslin cloth and used as a base for block printing. The mud resist mixture is soaked overnight, and then, using wooden blocks, is printed on the fabric. Prior to drying the fabric in the sun, the mud (printed parts of the fabric) is covered with saw dust. As a final process the fabric is dipped in the dye and dried. Each fabric that is block printed goes through a wash 2-4 times. Designs then reveal themselves on the fabric, on the parts where the mud resist was applied. Some colour does penetrate through the mud, giving it a cracked batik-like appearance. 

Bagru block printing is similar to that in Sanganer, where motifs carved out on wooden blocks, are printed directly with dyes on light colour fabric. Both processes are labour intensive, however, and surprisingly, Bagru printing process takes longer than Dabu.


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