In Punjab, there was a particular community of textile workers called "Chhimba". They used to print khaddar cloth with hand blocks. In most cases, the white cloth was supplied by the customer. It was first dyed and then printed by the Chhimbas. The printed designs were mainly floral and geometrical; sometimes bird and animal motifs were also used.
The dyes were obtained from vegetables, plants and stones; -the colours were made fast by adding some chemicals and herbs and boiling for several hours. The method of obtaining colours for the dyes etc. was a jealously guarded secret of the Chhimba community and not let out easily.
It is still being done in some areas of Punjab but traditional designs are no longer in vogue. The traditional dyes and colours have been relinquished in favour of aniline dyes which are cheaper and do not involve so much time and labour. The term palampore originally derived from Hindustani word "palang-posh" meaning bed cover is now generally applied indiscriminately to all varieties of Indian
prints or hand printed cottons, including canopies over the images of Hindu gods, prayer cloths or mats, handkerchiefs and cloth for daily wear.-Indian cotton manufactures and printed cotton have been well known since time immemorial, though the original home of printing industry seems to have been Persia.
In Punjab, the colours used in this process are generally light or in pastel shades. Dark colours which are very common in Rajasthan are not used. Traditional patterns have undergone considerable change with the passage of time. This change is noticeable in rural areas also. The traditional motifs are not very similar to those of neighbouring provinces. Fortunately the lock motifs have an individuality of their own. Particularly, Mor (peacock) and Amb (mango) motifs have their own charm; the Jal (net or big bush) motif was very popular with the women from all communities. Rumal purposely made for the Sikhs was used for covering their holy book 'Granth-Sehib'. This was generally printed with hand blocks.
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