Aaj rakh keep it for today
Aalta A red temporary paste used at different auspicious occasions by women in India, on the periphery of the feet as decoration.
Aamla Phyllanthus emblica, Emblica officinalis, the Indian gooseberry tree-it has a very high tannin content thus used as a mordant in textile dyeing.
Aana small money, like a few cents, not used any more
Abhrak This particular style of gold and silver printing, is now practised only by one family in Ahmedabad. Aslam bhai Abhrakwal born in 1964 is the only source that the authors came across while doing their research for the book, whose still practises this craft. Even if on a very small scale, (to keep the craft alive). He was kind enough to share the story of his grandfather and great grandfather and their travels. The grandfather died only a few months back.
Abhrakwala A title for the Abhrak printers
Abu Satara Satara is one of the rarest traditional shawls to have survived the industrial revolution. One of the most amazing things about the shawl is that, it was never used by any Indian community, but by the people of Yemen. While the producers are based in Ahmedabad, India. A small family who are experts in various natural dyes have been producing these chadors exclusively for the Yemeni market. It is a chaddar (a huge shawl) worn by these beautiful Yemeni women on top of their veil. The entire process takes about a month as there are multiple number of steps, the pieces pass through 65 hands during the production process, before it is ready.
Achara A fabric spread on top of the table
before the printing, to provide
cushioning effect for uniform print.
Ageing ‘ Sukhai’: Natural drying of the fabric for
penetration of colour
Ajrakh a very rare type of Mud resist printing using natural dyes, practiced in Gujarat, Rajasthan in India and Sindh Pakistan. The only three known places in the world, where one finds this complicated process involving multiple stages of dyeing, washing and printing.
Alegar vinegar
Amer Also called amber, an area in Rajasthan. Presently the fort of amber is a very famous tourist destination
Andhra Pradesh A state in southern India, very well known for the unique kalamkaari work. A kind of textile painting made with hand, created using natural dyes, often religious in nature.
Aritha Sapindus Trifolatus “Hesh”, also called soap nut, often used for washing silk and wool
A-Zaharakh “Which means a fabric that does not fade so easily”.


Baandhani a kind of resist dye technique, practised in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Small dots are tied by taking a pinch of a fabric, using a very fine thread. Shibori is a synonym in Japanese, as the technique travelled to Japan via China many centuries back.
Bajaja The textile Retailers of Jaipur were called “Bajaja”
Banaras also quoted as Benaras in many books, a city in central India.
Baniya The business community
Bedouin Nomads, the Arabian Peninsula is the original home of the Bedouin. They still live in very traditional way, holding on their textile traditions very deeply. In most Arabic countries the Bedouin do not have any rights on land.
Berber they are an ethane group indigenous to North Africa, west of the Nile valley.
Berja a flours used in resist techniques for making viscous print paste.
Bisnoi a group among the Hindus
Bingata another method of ancient stencilling using rice paste resist comes from china, where the colours are very brilliant.
Blaudruck Blue printing in resist technique, Practised in Germany. It started around the 18th century.
Bombyx mori from the Bombycidae family feeds on mulberry leaves for about six weeks before it is ready to spin the cocoons. Silk fiber is basically produced as a continuous filament from cocoons spun by a large number of moths – caterpillars, known as silkworms.
Boota a figure, usually places all over the fabric by means printing, painting or embroidery; usually the designs are inspired from flowers or plants. The size of a boota is technically bigger than the booti.
Booti a figure, usually places all over the fabric by means printing, painting or embroidery, usually the designs are inspired from flowers or plants. Often quite small.
Butteh Buta


Carbasina cotton in Roman language
Chapaai Printing
Chapna To print
Chapri A square piece made of wooden sticks, used in a printing tray during the process of mud resist printing
Charkha the spinning wheel
Chatuchak a weekly market in Bangkok, in the past known for handicrafts, but in present times one can find many other things.
Chhaapakhana The printing department for the Jaipur Royal family
Chayroot a red colour yielding plant, which grew only in Golconda and Madras, is now extinct due to over use.
Cheepa Block printer
Chikankaari shadow work, special embroidery done in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, Central India
Chintz Cheent, a type of block printed fabric exported in huge quantities to Europe in the past, due to its popularity.
Chitgars painter, or block printer
Choti Chaupad A market in Jaipur
Chugata By mid Edo period, much bigger stencil designs became fashionable and was called Chugata.
Chuna Lime
Chunari Shawl
Cochineal an insect originally found on a cactus in South America, a very rich source of red dyes, cultivated for the same purpose by the locals, the colour provided much richer then lac.
“Compagnie des Indes” A French company, which was importing Indian textiles to France, because of their popularity back home.
Cotonum cotton in Latin


Datta a wooden block used for filling colour inside the, previously printed out line by rekh block
Dhabu Type of Mud resist printing – practiced only in Rajasthan
Dhamadka a small village, near Bhuj, Gujarat, known for the very rare Ajrakh printing in India. One of the only centres for this kind of printing in Gujarat, till the earthquake of 2000, when the people got divided into two villages. Dhamadka and Ajrakhpur. A newly created village for Ajrakh makers much nearer to Bhuj.
Dhawadi ke phool flower of woodfordia floribunda
Diwali Festival of lights celebrated all over India
Dupatta A cotton, wool or silk shawl


Fadad A skirt (Ghagra) material made of cotton fabric, printed and dyed in indigo and green colour. These were made for specific communities of Rajasthan.
Farukhabaad a place in U.P, central India, which use to be a big centre for block printing in the past. Even today one often finds, block printers or block makers from Farukhabaad, based in many parts of India.
Fentiya rumal A thick cotton block printed or boutique printed scarf worn by men
Fitakri alum


Gad a block used to fill the third or fourth colour in a multicoloured block design
Gall nut nutgall or gall nut is a hybrid created by the intersection of animal and plant world. A particular insect from the fly family lays its eggs on to the, leaves and buds of certain oak trees. It is the tree sap which is exuded from the holes made by the insect that dries up, after enveloping the larvae, which we know as nut gall. The insect stays inside all summer and thus the tannin content is up to 70%.16
Gangauri Bazaar A market in Jaipur.
Genda Marigold flower
Ghaat washing area in the dyeing unit. In the past, the clothes were taken to the river edge to wash, which is called Ghaat, now they are washed in house but the same term continues to be used.
Ghaghra A very wide long skirt, traditionally worn in India by women in most regions. In the same fashion as in the west, it was not considered nice to go out with a garment in which both legs are separately visible. Even women who wore some kind of pants (salwar) at home, often when they went out they covered the salwar with a Ghagra.
Gujarat a state in western India, particularly known for dyeing and printing crafts
Gujarata an earlier name of Gujarat state, before it became known as Gujarat
Gujarati people belonging to Gujarat
Gurjara A tribe which settled in Gujarat
Gurjara A tribe which settled in Gujarat Gurjara Pratihara – In late eight to tenth century Pratiharas originated in Rajasthan, one branch of the family got established in Gujarat and thus it was called Gurjara –Pratihara


Haat Usually a weekly market, In the past, It was a source of income for all the local producers to meet buyers, retail as well as wholesale.
Haldi Turmeric
Harappan Harappan’s is the name given to ancient people belonging to the Indus Valley civilization. A civilization that existed a few thousand years ago in the Indus Valley. Located in what’s now Pakistan and western India. It was the earliest known urban culture of the Indian subcontinent. The Indus Valley Civilization covered an area the size of western Europe. It was the largest of the four ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China. However, of all these civilizations the least is known about the Indus Valley people. This is because the Indus script has not yet been deciphered. There are many remnants of the script on pottery, vessels, seals, and amulets, but without a “Rosetta Stone” linguists and archaeologists have been unable to decipher it.17
Hathwada A weekly market in Jaipur
Henna more commonly known as Mehandi in India –Lawsonia inermis


Jaal a geometric or floral pattern, which is interlaced in some fashion, and printed or decorated all over the fabric, or can be used to cover a large portion of the fabric.
Jharokha Balcony
Jota A layer of fabric spread on the colour tray used for printing.
“Julaha” a weaver


Kaami ka Dupatta a black cotton shawl which had a double border separated by a line of butas.
Kaarkhana Workshop, factory
Kachchwaha Raj puts a tribe among the Raj puts
Kamakura 1185–1333 is a period of Japanese history that marks the governance by the Kamakura Shogunate, officially established in 1192 AD in Kamakura, by the first shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo. The period is known for the emergence of the samurai, the warrior caste, and for the establishment of feudalism in Japan.18
Kapas cotton in Sanskrit
Kashish Ferrous sulphate solution typically used in Dhabu printing
Katazome a Japanese rice paste resist technique
Katha Catechu
Khaadi fabric hand spun and hand-woven cloth, made very popular by Gandhiji during the fight for freedom in India.
Khadi printing Khadi print paste is available in the market as a white paste ready for printing. The exact composition of khadi paste is a trade secret but it is essentially prepared by the incorporation of titanium dioxide as white pigment. The content of titanium dioxide could be as high as 20-25%. This paste is used for producing white prints on white fabric or on dyed fabric. Because of high concentration of titanium dioxide and binder the prints are harsh.
Khaka a kind of tracing made for copying the design on multiple number of textiles, in various crafts –like baandhani, embroidery, etc.
Khar an alkaline solution used in dyeing
Kharetwala A printer who prints with gold
Khatri A short for Kshtriya. A big portion of the dyeing and printing community from Gujarat and Rajasthan comes from the Khatris
Kohli Weavers community living in Saanganer
Komon stencil resists dyeing technique, popular in Edo period.
Kozo These stencils were made of 2-3 sheets of mulberry paper called kozo in Japanese language.
Kutchi Belonging to Kutch region of Gujarat


Laal Chandan Red Sandalwood
Lac an insect found on various host trees, used for textile dyeing, to achieve colours from pink to purple, and red to maroon, shade variation can be found depending upon the host tree and the variation of silk worm.
Laheras Lac dyers were called
Laksha lac in Sanskrit
Leheriya A special technique of tie and dye, practised only in Rajasthan region, the design that is created looks like waves.
Likhai drawing the design on the block
Lungi a kind of Sarong usually worn by Men in
various parts of India


Maali Gardener
Machilipatnam a town in Andhra Pradesh, southern India – very well known for its kalamkaari style, printed textiles, made using natural dyes. Was a very big centre of commerce for these textiles historically.
Mahajans The business community
Maharaja king of kings – a king of very high level
Maithili a region in north Bihar
Majith Madder
Malmal A very fine cotton material
Mamluk dynasty The Mamluk Sultanate of was a state based in medieval Egypt. It lasted from the overthrow of the Ayyubid Dynasty until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517. The sultanate’s ruling caste was composed of Mamluks, soldiers of predominantly Kipchak Turk, Circassian, and Georgian slave origin.19
Marwaadi language spoken by inhabitants of Marwad, in Rajasthan
Meenas a group of people from Rajasthan
Mern goat dung
Metallic prints These are produced by using print paste containing metallic powders, Aluminum, bronze and copper powders are usually used. The type of the print effect obtained depends on the metal powder used in the print paste.
Methi Fenugreek
Mohenjo-daro the mount of the dead, an archaeological site in the province of Sindh,Pakistan
Mordere which means to bite, the origin of the word mordant in French
Muga silk a wild silk
Mulberry silk a silk produced in southern India, where the silkworm feeds on mulberry leaves
Myrobalan Terminalia chebula, Harda, Hararra a small fruit
Muromachi also known as the Muromachi era, the Ashikaga era, or the Ashikaga period) is a division of Japanese history running from approximately 1337 to 1573. The period marks the governance of the Muromachi or Ashikaga shogunate (Muromachi bakufu or Ashikaga bakufu), which was officially established in 1338 by the first Muromachi shogun, Ashikaga Takauji, two years after the brief Kemmu restoration (1333–1336) of imperial rule was brought to a close. The period ended in 1573 when the 15th and last shogun of this line, Ashikaga Yoshiaki, was driven out of the capital in Kyoto by Oda Nobunaga.20
Murshidabad is a city in Murshidabad district of West Bengal state in India. The city of Murshidabad is located on the southern bank of the Bhagirathi, a tributary of the Ganges River.21


Nakshi borders
Namada felted, often the word is used for felting, but also for felted products like a carpet.
Nashphaal A dye solution made out of pomegranate skin
Neel Indigo
Neelgar Indigo Dyer
Neelgaron mohalla ka A quarter of the Neelgar community


Odhna Shawl


Paan Betel nut leaf
Paisleys Keri
“Parat” a precise impression of the fresh block taken by the block printer before printing starts. This remains in the records for the future, as a reference for the block maker.
Pawansaar It was another technical innovation done by the creative block makers to facilitate printing, many centuries ago. These are basically holes created in the blocks so that air “pawan” can pass through and the block does not get blocked.
Pehchaan Identity
Persimmon a fruit used for natural dyeing, found in colder regions, used for yellow brown colours. The colour obtained from Persimmion is very popular in Korea and Japan.
Pharcha (borders) border deigns are usually narrow, but long, can be geometric or floral, often are based on tendrils. Sometimes they have no design, but are only meant for printing a separate flat colour.
Pheran A thick Kashmiri dress worn as a second layer. It is made of wool and is made to protect people from cold.
Phulkari The traditional embroidery of Punjab, Practised both in Punjab India and Punjab Pakistan. Often geometrical designs are created on a hand woven base fabric of rust to maroon colour. Dyed with madder in the past, Now often made using chemical dyes and machines.
Pudina Mint
Puraani Basti Purani means old and Basti means a place to live, a place where people are living


Qutun/qutan cotton in Arabic


Rabaari A nomadic shepherd community from Gujarat
Rajput Warrior class based out of Rajasthan
Rajputana The entire area under the Raj puts
Ramayana and Mahabhartha Two extremely important ancient epics
in India
Rang Colour
Rangaai Dyeing
Rangkhana The department that produced the most precious textiles, created using crafts related to dyeing for the royal family of Jaipur
Rangrez Dyer
Ratanjot Arnebia nobilis Reichb.f –used for dyeing shades of red colour
Rekh outline, Rekha is line in Hindi. Here the word Rekh is used for an Outline block, used to print the first colour of a multicoloured pattern.
Resham Silk
Reza hand-woven cotton fabric
Rogan A kind of textile printing made in Gujarat and Rajasthan, using gold and silver powder
Roznamacha Every records maintained in the royal workshops of Jaipur


Saanganer A bustling town on the outskirts of Rajasthan, famous in the past for its very fins block prints, now a major centre for screen printing.
Sabji Vegetables
Sabji Zardi ki fadad means vegetables in Hindi; here the word Sabji expressed the fact that the colours of the fadad was like the colour of different vegetables. And the word Zardi meant deep, as the colours were very deep.
Safa Turban
Saffron Zaafran, a yellow coloured flower, found mainly in Kashmir and Iran, one of the most expensive spices, or herbs, has a unique flavour, scent and colour. Mainly used in food, but various examples can be found which mention its use as a fabric dye for very special occasions.
Sapoor in Hindi and hakur in Marwaadi is a tree found in Madhya Pradesh. The seeds were used in Rajasthan very commonly for bleaching the fabric. The tree has very hard wood and the seeds are used for bleaching. The craftsmen claim that they could achieve brilliant whiteness by the same.
Sari a 5.5 to 6m long fabric, ornamented in a certain way and worn by women in different parts of India. It can be draped in many fashions, A blouse and a petticoat is worn below the sari to complete the outfit.
Sappan wood Brazil wood, used for dyeing shades of very bright pink to dark wine with different mordents a colour with a very long history in India.
Saudagar businessman, trader
Saudagari printing A kind of printing made for the Thai market in the past, It is not practiced any more. A very complicated process done using natural dyes.
Scouring ‘Hari Sarana’: Cleaning of the impure fabric for good penetration of colour
Scythia A multinational region in central Eurasia in the classical era
Shaagrid a student, a trainee
Siam The old name of Thailand
Siwankhana The stitching department for the Jaipur Royal family
Soot Cotton
Sun bleaching ‘Tapai’: Sun bleaching of the dyed fabric to make the background look white as prior to dyeing.
Suti made of cotton, or cotton
Syahi Begar Red and black dyeing (Syahi is the black part, Begar is the red part)


Thangka Tibetan religious painting, usually made by the monks, the skill level and knowledge required is very high.
Toiles peintes” painted tissues
Toils paints” painted tissues
Tussah, Eri and Muga silks are products of Larvae of wild or semi wild types of moths belonging to the family Saturniidae. Wild silks are very different from ordinary silks in both chemical and physical properties.
Tyrian purple also called royal purple, was a reddishpurple natural dye, produced by the secretion of a particular species of predatory sea snails in the family Muricidae called Murex. This dye was possibly first used by the ancient Phoenicians as early as 1570 BC. The dye was greatly prized in antiquity because the colour did not easily fade, but instead became brighter with weathering and sunlight. The dye substance comprises a mucous secretion from the hypobranchial gland of one of several medium-sized predatory sea snails that are found in the eastern Mediterranean. These are the marine gastropods Bolinus brandaris the spiny dyemurex, (originally known as Murex brandaris (Linnaeus, 1758)), the banded dye-murex Hexaplex trunculus, and the rock-shell Stramonita haemastoma. The dye is an organic compound of bromine (i.e., an organobromine compound), a class of compounds often found in algae and some other sea life, but much more rarely in the biology of land animals.


Zardi deep