Wednesday, July 14, 2010
photograph of a cloth stamper seated at a low table on the verandah of a house in Western India, taken by Shivashanker Narayen in c. 1873,
The craft of block printing cotton fabrics is particularly associated with Gujarat. The motifs include flowers, animals, people and abstract designs. The wooden blocks, carved with the design to be printed, have a handle on the back. They are made from woods that are light in weight, gurjun (Dipterocarpus Turbinatus-Gaert) or seasoned teak (Tectona Grandis-Linn); the former wears better when used as a block. Fabrics are still printed this way in India to this day. This image is probably the photograph shown at the Vienna Exhibition of the same year, and described by Watson in catalogue as follows: 'Printing...This is done by wooden stamps, which are charged with the colouring matter, and applied one after the other as the design may require.'