About the Bagh Prints from Madhya Pradesh
From the Bagh village in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, the bold and vibrant hand block printing technique of Baghi Prints has been passed down from the Chhippas of the Khatri community who migrated to Bagh, 400 years ago. Bagh printing is a tedious and time-consuming process which involves around 15 steps where a single composition may consist of over 1300 different impressions.
After soaking the fabric in raw sea salt and non-refined castor oil and goat dung it is then dried three times in succession. After drying for 15 days, the cloth is dipped in a solution of harada or baheda powder and washed in flowing river water. The deep hue of Bagh prints is brought on by boiling the fabrics in water with dhavdi flowers and roots of aal tree, all in a copper vessel.
Patterns and Styles
Characteristic features of Bagh prints include there geometrical patterns of floral motifs, usually in tones of black, red and blue. Most of the bagh prints are replicas of drawings made by the Pandavas during their stay in caves. Teak blocks are carved with sharp tools and are immersed in oil for days. These blocks are used as stamps, with colors that are extracted from various raw materials. These include tamarind seeds mixed with alum (red color) and iron filings with jaggery (black color). Authentic Bagh prints have a distinctive smell of alizarin (organic dye).