Mohammed designs saga of hand block printing

Mohammed Bilal (right ) with his brother Khasim Bilal at Iringal Craft Village

Mohammed Bilal Khatri from Madhya Pradesh is an expert in traditional hand block printing (Bagh printing).He has inherited the skill from his family.

He learnt this craft from his father,Mohammed Yusuf Khatri. Since a very young age, Mohammed Bilal stepped into this work and proved his caliber and won many international accolades.

Bilal is taking part in the International Handicrafts expo at Iringal Craft Village with his wonderful color designs.

He  was recognized with  National Merit Awards by the Development Commissioner of Handicrafts,Ministry of Textiles,Govt of India in 2011.He has also got Russian Ethnomir award”The Dialogue of Cultures-United World” Fund.


Bilal made block designs which have found in Bagh caves.He streamlined the processing of two important colors-red from alum and black from corrosive iron.

He also discovered vegetable dyes such as yellow and green.

Bilal won the National award for a bed cover in which he used 1,230 different blocks,most of them depicting his own  re invented designs..

He is dealing with most complex nuances of traditional techniques and vegetable dyes.

Bagh printing derives its name from the village ‘Bagh’

Bagh is famous for two things.The Bagh caves which housed Budhsist paintings till a few years ago.The second is exquisite craft of block prints and vegetable dye.

Khatri does block printing and make saris,cushion ,table mats , silk scarf and shawls.

He uses the designs on jute,bamboo chik,leather etc.apart from clothes.Bagh print was engraved with natural colors.

It is first time in the world which was completed with colors on bamboo,claims the artist.Hence,it is a revolutionary art design in India,according to Bilal.

Techniques for printing on cotton and jute


Cotton cloth is cut according to the size required.It is washed in river water and dried on the river bank.When the cloth/jute dries it , it is boiled in bundles and soaked into paste of raw salt,castor oil and goat dung.It is then spread out on mud floor for twenty four hours.

Next day,the cloth/jute is soaked again in the same paste and this process repeated two to three times. This process is called the Khatra process.The cloth/jute is again washed in flowing river after which it is temporarily dyed in hard paste and left to dry in the sun this rigorous methodical process makes the cloth/jute ready for the process of printing.

There are two kinds of pastes made up of dhada gum one is the red paste and the other is black ,both of which have dhvada gum.

This paste is filtered and poured into a wooden tray.The tray itself is organized according to specific requirement of printing.

The cloth/jute is now printed with blocks and intricate designs are made by the skillful craftsmen. After printing ,the cloth/jute is left to dry in the sun then it is kept for fifteen days at a place there after it is again washed in the flowing river water and left to dry.After this the process of coloring begins.

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