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Dyeing Fabrics in India
Online resources

List compiled by Shaista Anwar Khan
September 2016

fabricAny mention of Indian food and culture makes us feel proud to be an Indian. But can our culture be imagined without colours? What role did colours or pigments play in Indian society? Rang, rangoli and Holi can't be imagined without colour. Even Alexander the Great mentioned "beautiful printed cottons" of India in 327 BC.

Ancient colours like the blue were derived from indigo, a plant found in India and Southeast Asia. In medieval India, a paint brush was called the ‘kalam’ or qalam. Dye-patterned cotton fabrics from Gujarat and southern India were referred to as kalamkari. After trade links were established with the Safavid Persia, there were apparent interactions between the kalamkari traditions of both countries. History also suggests a revolt (named nil-bidroh) by indigo farmers against the planters in Bengal around 1859. Similarly, the Bandhini or tie-and-dye technique goes back to pre-historic time, Ajanta frescos showing their good examples. We present here some useful links and resources on fabric dyeing in India.

Dyeing cotton fabrics is an ancient Indian art, by Amit Mitra http://downtoearth.org.in/coverage/dyeing-cotton-fabrics-is-an-ancient-indian-art-30445

Dye History from 2600 BC to the 20th Century, by Susan C. Druding http://www.straw.com/sig/dyehist.html

The History of Fabric Dye, by Juliette Donatelli

A BRIEF HISTORY OF DYESTUFFS & DYEING, by Lady Siobhan nicDhuinnshleibhe

History of Bandhani or Indian Tie & Dye Technique- Blog Indian art and Craft http://theindiacrafthouse.blogspot.in/2012/01/history-of-bandhani-or-indian-tie-dye.html

The earliest dyes, by Kris Driessen

India's rich textile heritage: Exploring the fabric of a nation in Delhi and Jaipur, by Rebecca Gonsalves. Blog Independent

“The Fabric of India” an exhibition at Victoria and Albert Museum.

Dyeing cotton fabrics is an ancient Indian art- Blog Indian Environment Portal

Tie and Dye through Ages, by Julie A. Jennings

Indian Dyes and Dyeing Industries in 18th and 19th Centuries, by H.C Bahardwaj and Kamal L. Jain, Indian Journal of History of Science.

Indigo and Indian Independence, by Bibiana Campos Seijo

Colour of freedom written by Dipanita Nath, Vandana Kalra, Suanshu Khurana

Dyes in ancient and medieval India, by Mira Roy

This list is in progress. Please let us know if you know of some good Oral history archive on the Internet which concerns us and we may have missed. Please report if you find any dead links.

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