Dabu or daboo is an ancient mud resist hand block printing technique from Rajasthan. The practice almost died out in the last century but was revived and is today a flourishing business in many villages of Rajasthan. Dabu printing is very labor intensive and involves several stages of printing and dyeing; the end result is therefore very unique and beautiful. Dabu printed fabrics display a subtle and extraordinary beauty and depth which is appreciated around the world. It has captured the imagination of modern day designers. Daboo is today frequently used to decorate many Indian and Indo-western clothes and home décor items.

Traditional Daboo designs and motifs are very similar to the motifs used in all traditional Rajasthani textiles, since the ‘blocks’ used for printing are common to most of these techniques. They tend to be nature inspired designs of plants, birds, flowers, fruits as well as artistic ethnic motifs.

Daboo printing is essentially a village handicraft, which is now practiced in many rural areas of Rajasthan. For many, it has become a family business, with the older generation passing on the secrets of the craft to the next. These artisans tend to produce the more traditional and classic varieties of prints which are obviously considered the most authentic.

On the other hand, many new-age designers and craftsmen are also making a business out of producing unique Daboo printed fabrics. They learn the technique from the regional artisans and then add their own unique twist. The fact is, Daboo printing has become a source of inspiration for many artists and fashion lovers across the world, which is why many people have taken to producing fabrics with this ancient mud resist technique of printing.

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