Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Farrukhabad's Hand Printing: Sleight of Hand

Hand Printing is an ancient craft in India. India enjoys an international repute for its handicrafts and hand crafted items and much of the skill in this sphere is confined to the state of Uttar Pradesh. Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh is a veritable treasure house of traditional designs ranging from the classical butis (dots) to the famous ' Tree of Life.   Farrukhabad hand printing is famous all over the world and it stands testimony to the craftsmanship of the native artisans. It would not be an exaggeration to state that Farrukhabad has become synonymous to the art of hand painting.

Handprint using Block

HandPrint in Process

Traditional patterns dominate Farrukhabad Hand Printing. Block makers at Farrukhabad are known for their artistry and intricate designs. The skilled workers carry on experimentations with these traditional patterns that range from the classical butis that are also called polka dots to the more popular “Tree of Life”. The butis are restful even though sparkling when tinted in solid colors. Mango, ‘paisley’ as it is known in the West, is made in a vast variety of shapes, and used in bold, medium and even fine designs . Farrukhabad Hand Printing specialty is its myriad shapes that are used in bold, medium and sometimes fine designs. Block printing is well known for using rich, vibrant colors. Traditionally, natural vegetable dyes were used in this process, but now-a-day synthetic colors are also in use.

Traditional Pattern of Farrukhabad Handprint

Different designs of Hand Print

The composition is first printed in harmonizing colors and later elaborated with delicate details painted in with a brush. A variety of blossoms merge in this luxuriant tree. It is primarily a decorative piece unrelated to any symbol but has a flavour of growth, prosperity and immorality. The spirited heraldic lions that guard the tree speak of a Hindu tradition.

Persian Style Block Printing

Farrukhabad Hand Printing still enjoys the prominence and importance even during a period when the machine based printing has captured the market. The advent of machines has no doubt made this art form stand face to face with financial loss, but those who attach a lot of importance to the manual labor can understand the value of Farrukhabad Hand Printing.

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