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iXiGOers Jul 04 2013

What is Rogan painting of Gujarat all about?

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Rogan is a form of oil-based hand painting influenced by Persian art, and was introduced in India about 200 years ago. Like any other traditional craft, Rogan is tedious and time-consuming. It also requires high level of skilled workmanship. First, the rogan paste needs to be prepared by boiling castor or linseed oil for hours together. Once the oil develops a gelatinous consistency, it is kept aside to cool naturally. This paste is then taken and mixed well with the dye of the required colour. This process is again a prolonged one because the dye does not mix with gel-like paste very easily.It was earlier practiced in Baroda, Patan, Chowbari, Kavada and Kutch, cities in Gujarat; also in Maharashtra’s Nasik district. However, now the glorious art of Rogan painting is limited only to Kutch. Just a handful of craftsmen, about four, practice the traditional textile craft of Rogan now. Moreover, the intricacy of the Rogan painting depends on the stretchability of the paste.

Once the artist has his palette ready, he folds the fabric to be painted accurately at the centre. He paints the desired design on one side of the folded cloth. It is then again folded from the centre and pressed evenly to get an identical impression of the design on the other half of the cloth. A little slip of hand at this stage is no less than a catastrophe. The cloth is then sun dried for about eight hours. The result is a visual delight, no less. The painting gives the fabric a heavy embossed effect, much like embroidery. Earlier, the craftsmen used the Rogan painting to prepare the wedding trousseau for their daughters. Now, they are trying to find acceptance of customers in utilitarian products such as table cloths, cushion covers, bags, and other accessories.

If you happen to be in Gujarat, don't forget to bring a piece of this beautiful art with you!

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