A New Read for Textile Lovers!

 

The Anokhi Museum is pleased to announce a new book :   Farrukhabad – Art of the Block.

All you textile aficionados, have you tired of historical fiction, murder mysteries, and biographies? Are you looking for something different to add to your reading list while our world is slowly opening up? Are you ready to travel off the beaten trail?

 

Cover shows artworks created by Farrukhabad artisans in their workshops around mid 20th century.

 

Farrukhabad – Art of the Block might be just the book you have been looking for.  Captivated by the chhipas stories and their elegant complex blocks, AMHP has been immersed in the prints and history of Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh, an historic town nearly forgotten in time. Giving a voice to our guides — the Khans, a renowned family of block carvers — and complimented by a variety of tangential interviews, we let the artisans ‘speak’ to provide insight with their own words, and what a riveting tale they tell.

 

The Khan workshop in Khatakpura mohalla neighbourhood.

 

Linked to the trade routes along the Ganges north of Lucknow, Farrukhabad has a rollicking history beginning in 1714 when a Bangash Afghan warlord, Mohammed Khan, captured these lush plains for  Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar. Khan founded a thriving town that weathered invading tribes, British traders, World Wars and even American missionaries to become one of the most significant centres of hand printed cloth.

The block carvers reigned. They created remarkable Persian-styled paisleys and flowering borders crammed with entwined vines and delicate tiny buds — elements of the famed Flowering Tree. These complex designs, dense with  elaborate flowers, earned Farrukhabad well-deserved accolades for several hundred years.  Although facing challenges today, the town retains a significant place within the context of block printing.

 

Replica of Ajmal Khan’s state award-winning block.

 

Classic Farrukhabad pattern interlaces delicate flowers and leaves with paisley motifs on a brass block.

 

So take a peek into this fascinating world. Numerous samples of prints and photographs illustrate the sheer beauty of the elaborate prints. An exhibition will follow. Contact us to order this book and other publications by AMHP.

 

A large scale floral pattern using 20 blocks to print a single repeat.
Revival of a vintage Farrukhabad chintz pattern.

 

Block printer carefully stamps datta filler block for Farrukhabad ‘Mehrab’ print.

 

Text: Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing

Photos: Anokhi Archives & Suki Skidmore

 

 

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