Carbon dating printing wood blocks
The hand printing of traditional textiles prepared with the use of wooden blocks was of three kinds: direct printing, resist printing, and outline block printing augmented by hand painting.
Direct printing was done on bleached cloth prepared with mordants for dye absorption; on this surface the outline block was printed, followed by a fill-in block for coloring both the outlined motif and the background.
It was the durability and brilliance of Indian cottons that made them renowned throughout the world.
The eastern coast had ancient links with Southeast Asia.
In Kalamkari, also known as vartapani, all three techniques—painting, printing and dyeing—were done by one community.
Gujarat produced elaborate hangings with large female figures created in western Indian style with a three-quarter face and a protruding eye.
Some of these were created with blocks and then colored by hand, while others were entirely hand painted, with each figure appearing to be a portrait.
Early literary sources mention the importance of the printing and dyeing industry. 500 b.c.), while visiting Persia, mentioned "flowered cottons with glowing colors," greatly coveted by Persian women and imported from India.
The Periplus of the Erytherian Sea, a first-century Roman record, gives a list of printing centers of western India, and Pliny commented that Roman coffers of gold were being depleted by the import of Indian cottons to satisfy the vanity of Roman women.Europeans entered the trade in printed textiles much later, while Indians, Chinese, and Arabs had been trading from prehistoric times.