Ajrakh is a unique combination of hand block printing and resist dyeing. The skilful manipulation of two kinds of resist, or Dabu (mud and lime-resist) produces intricate, multi-layered designs on treated cotton cloth.
The hallmark of the original Ajrakh textile, which typically uses blue or red vegetable dyes, is double-sided printing, where the pattern on one side of the fabric is precisely replicated, line for line, dot for dot, on the other, ‘reverse’, side.
Traditional Ajrakh Printing
Harmony at Repetition
“The construction of the motifs follows two opposite but complementary tendencies. On one hand, the printing block, used as the basic unit, is a closed surface having a clear, coherent and balanced order: the centre is always clearly defined and the diverse elements of the pattern are solidly structured around it according to the pattern of the diagonal and medians.
But on the other hand, and at the same time, this well-delimited construction opens outwards and by this very opening a new order is created, ruled by different laws. It is this balance between the centrifugal and the centripetal tendencies within one unit, translated by the surfaces (and of course the alternating colours) which will generate the harmony at the time of repetition; that is, at the moment when the part will merge into the whole.”
- Francoise Cousin
‘Light and Shade, Blue and Red: The Azrak of Sind’, Ahmedabad : Mapin Publishing, 1989
AJRAKH Textile through stages
Naturally Dyed Fabrics
1. Alizarin and temrix flowers for dark red
2. Madder for pale red
3. Temrix flowers for mustard yellow
4. Rhubarb root for pale yellow
Dr Ruchira Ghose, Mushtak Khan and Kritika Narula — Crafts Museum, Delhi
Collaborating Institution for Exhibition held at Crafts Museum — National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi
Swatches representing "Ajrakh through stages" made by — Dr. Ismail Mohammad Khatri
Video On Ajrakh made for Ministry of Textiles — Kutch Adventures India
Online exhibit credits — Consultants - Digitization, Crafts Museum - Gunjan Tripathi, Visetuonuo Kiso and Habib Ahamad