Rajasthani textiles come in a fascinating range of dyed and block-printed fabric which are further embroidered. Each region has its own special color scheme, design and technique. Hand-block printed textiles of the townships of Sanganer and Bagru near Jaipur have won the hearts of millions at home and abroad. Jaipur's quilts are a hot favorite with most tourists.
Tie-and-dye textiles, called bandhej or bandhani are an important Rajasthani craft. Different methods are used to tie the fabric into small points and produce various patterns like lehariya, mothda, ekdali and shikari. The best bandhej comes from Sikar and Jodhpur, while Jaipur, Barmer, Pali, Udaipur and Nathdwara are the other centers. Zari and gota are lavishly used in bridal and formal costumes. One can pick up saris or even cushion covers with this elaborate mettalic thread embroidery.
Rajasthan is the heartland of hand - block printing. Sanganer is virtually flooded with block - makers and printers to the extent that textiles are hand - block printed in the courtyards of homes. The chief colour used is orange and red with floral prints in yellow and blue - black. The art of Khari or overprinting in gold is also practised here. Today, traditional vegetable and mineral dyes are gradually being replaced 'by chemical ones. Sanganeri prints command a huge demand from major fashion centres world - wide.
The town of Bagru excels in delightful circular designs in dark glowing vegetable colours - printed on bed spreads, table linen and clothes. Textiles printed here, have won the hearts of millions at home and abroad.
From the shimmering deserts of Barmer come the geometric Ajrak prints, in dark shades of blue and red for protection from the sun. Nathdwara scores high with its sarees, wraps, kerchiefs and quilt covers, in designs similar to the Pichwais made here.
The red, black and olive green, mosaic - like patterns of the Jajams of Chittaurgarh are used for women's skirts & wraps and floor coverings.
Heart - warming textiles, dyed in the bandhani or tie & dye style reign supreme in Rajasthan. The art of bandhani is a highly skilled process. In this the fabric is tied into small points with threads and when dyed, the knotted parts remain uncoloured. More intricate designs are tied and dyed several times for each colour. Different methods produce different patterns. Lahariya consists of diagonal stripes; Mothda is chequered; Ekdali has small circles and squares; clusters of three, four and seven dots are called Tikhunti, Chaubandi & Satbandi. The Shikari design incorporates human and animal figures while the Laddu Jalebi pattern has multi - coloured squares. The best bandhani work comes from Sikar and Jodhpur, while Jaipur, Bikaner, Barmer, Pali, Udaipur and Nathdwara are the other centres.
Mirror Work Embroidery
Be it a turban, a flared skirt, a veil or a sari - the colour combinations are unusual and brilliant. The women of Rajasthan have mastered the art of embroidering fabrics. Embroidery practised in Bikaner is done by counting threads. The use of double stitch method results in creating an effect on both sides, giving a semblance of bandhani. The women of Sikar and Jhunjhunu specialise in making patterns of animals. Chain stitch is popular in Alwar. Dancing figures, flowers, peacocks and Mandala, the tree of life are the favourite motifs. Women of Barmer use mirrors, thus enhancing the beauty of the embroidered piece. Other patterns such as the surface satin stitch, herringbone stitch and geometric styles are a speciality of Barmer.
In applique, different pieces of cloth are patched together to make a multi - coloured mosaic. The exotic colours, shape and pattern combina- tions against contrasting backgrounds catch the eye.