Traditional Crafts of the Muslim World • Documentary
Traditionally, Ajrak is the name of a block printed cloth with deep crimson red and indigo blue background, bearing symmetrical patterns with interspersed unprinted sparkling white motifs. An ancient craft, the history of the Ajrak can be traced back to the civilizations of the Indus Valley that existed around 2500 BC-1500 BC.
The term “Ajrak”, may be derived from “Azrak”, meaning blue in Arabic, as blue happens to be the one of the principal colours in Ajrak printing. More than a fabric, Ajrak is a Sindhi tradition; found in daily usage such as hammocks and bedsheets to duppattas, scarves, and even gifts as a token of respect. The highly valued Ajrak has also been made in Kutchfor the Maldharis or cattle herders’ communities since the time Khatris migrated from Sindh in the 16th century. The Khatri community, whose name means “one who fills or changes colours,” printed cloth with the locally available natural dyes and water from the Dhamadka, the river that gave their village its name.
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