Dabu Block Print- An Earthy Sculpting of Traditions

Amidst in them, the smell of earth, breathing in the cultural lanes of Rajasthan, Dabu Print is a unique mud resistant technique of hand block printing.The art followed with a mud-resist material made by using a mixture of desert sands which is called “Dabu”.This artistic printing also leaves the effect of mud-colored print on the material making it look more adorning, earthy, and classic.


History of Dabu Block Printing

The artisans of Rajasthan has a close relationship with Dabu block printing by taking the advantage of textured sands found in desserts. Though, it is said to be first found in China. According to the artifacts, about 675 AD Dabu block printed was produced in the village of Akola, Chittorgarh district.The art almost died before independence but again revived by the local artisans in the 21st century.

The Process 

The process of making Dabu block print is called  ‘Dabanna’ which means press. 

Dabu block printing is a melange of a wide array of organic material used throughout the process. The making involves natural colors and vegetable glues. 

1- The process began by creating black or brown clay which is obtained from the nearby village.The mud of clay leaves behind an artistic and actual effect on the fabric after the printing is done.

2-Gum Arabic is used and mixed in the same mixture to provide a bonding base to block design and fabric

3-Further the addition of wheat powder in the mixture helps to develop strong adhesion and create a good thick mixture to print designs on the fabric.

4-Natural colors like indigo(blue), kashish (grey-brown), yellow and red derived from fruits like pomegranate are used as a dye in Dabu printing. 

5-Fabric like chiffons, cotton silk, and georgette are taken as the base.


Patterns and Motifs

Dabu block prints are usually inspired by nature.Some traditionally block prints involve- animals, birds, peacocks, sunflowers, leaves, cornstalks (called boots), and fruits. Apart from these - geometric lines, dotty prints, and many distinctive shapes are further use to adorn creativity.


Dabu Block print is practiced in Rajasthan, mainly in Bagru, Akola, and  Sanganer district. Nowadays Dabu Print has found worldwide popularity for its eco-friendly features and earthy textures.Various men’s wear and women’s clothing are using Dabu printing to provide it a classic touch.


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