The Story of the Age Old Ajrakh
The image of the priest-king of Mohenjo-Daro with a shawl wrapped around him is as iconic as the dancing girl also found there. But look closely at the priest-king’s bust and you will see that the circular designs and trefoils, originally sporting a red pigment on a blue or green background on the shawl, is uncannily similar to the double-sided block printing or Ajrakh (or Ajrak) work practised in Sindh and Kutch even today. The strong similarities have led some historians to believe that Ajrakh, maybe one of the oldest continuous forms of printing indigenous to the sub-continent of India – tracing its origins back to more than 4000 years ago.
Practised by the local communities in the vast deserts of Kutch in Gujarat and Sindh in Pakistan, the double-sided block printed textile is still made in a traditional way with natural dyes. And it still sports the classic colours of blue and red with geometric patterns.