Bagh Bedsheets – HandBlock Prints from MP

Bagh print is a hand-block printing technique, started in the Sindh province of Undivided India and practiced today in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. The process involves 22 unique stages spanning over a couple of days. These hand-block printed colorful bedspreads are a matter of joy and marvel to everyone who sees it.

Imagine a garden filled with colourful flowers and plants of various kinds. Some big blossoms, some small, some with no flowers, some bursting in bloom, some tall, some short, some with spread out petals, some in budding, of red, pink, orange, green, azure, purple, white and what not. A huge splash of colour and smells; a beautiful garden in its prime that even the evergreen stalk and leaves are hidden from view by their fruits. Now imagine that on a piece of bedspread. That will give you an idea of what the well-known Bagh-printed bedsheets are.

Bagh artisans are highly praised and celebrated for their skills and workmanship. It is a variation from the usual designs where the prints might be just across the borders or sparely covering the body. The Bagh bedsheets on the other hand have a print pattern which covers the entire cloth thus rendering the base fabric almost invisible. The prints and the motifs literally become the fabric itself in this case. While this demands more time and patience on the part of the artisans, the reward one gets at the end is a priceless product; and with its rewards comes the high status.

 

The fabric used for this kind of printing is usually woven in widths of 45 to 60 inches and later changed after printing the patterns in the desired design. Bagh in Madhya Pradesh is well known for this style of block printing and is associated with the Khatri, Bhila and Bhilala tribes of Jhabua and Dhar’s garment traditions. The bedsheets designed in this fashion are a mark of pride for the artisans; and a warm and comforted feeling for us.

 

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