Khara-Chuna: Block Printing

Block Printing is one of the oldest forms of printmaking, evidence of its existence dating back to the fifth century BC, with roots in India, China and Japan. Over the ages many different techniques have evolved, but it essentially uses a carved material covered in ink to transfer an image on to paper or fabric. Block printing can be done with wood, linoleum, rubber etc. To shop for beautiful beige block prints and stunning Khara-Chuna blocks, visit

It is amazing to know the variety of Block printing processes used in traditional printing in India. One of them is Khara-Chuna or Chuna-Patri process used in Bagru. In this process a solution is prepared using Khara or Patri (Aniline Hydrochloride), Potassium Chlorate and Copper sulphate. Then the fabric is dipped into it and while it is wet, it is printed with lime and gum. Lime acts as a discharge and doesn't allow the black color to develop on those areas. It is then dried in the sun. Every part of the fabric which is not printed first turns green and then jet black upon exposure to sun. It creates some of the richest blacks and whites you can find. Traditionally, the dye class - aniline black was used by textiles printers long ago for dyeing umbrellas.

Khara /Patri is Aniline Hydrochloride, also known as aniline salt. It is a product that is made by aniline oil and HCl. This is in the form of white flake crystals and used for making black color in textile printing. It works on the principle that when a salt of aniline in solution is exposed to the action of oxidizers, it yields a black dye of such depth that other dyes look grey or green in comparison. In this case the aniline salt dissolves in water to give a acidic solution with a pH of around 5. Cotton  is dipped in the solution containing aniline salt, potassium chlorate, which acts as an oxidizer and copper salt, which acts as an oxygen carrier. The dyed material them becomes greener due to formation of Emeraldine and then turns jet black. When a wet solution is then printed with lime, the Ca(OH)2 will neutralize the selected areas as well as bleach them by forming calcium chloride, which gives such a brilliant white color. 

Shop from our range - Marudhara where master-craftsmen from the land of sand recreate the colours and patterns of the desert. To shop for beautiful beige block prints and stunning Khara-Chuna blocks, visit

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