Rogan art is a 400 year old technique of freehand textile painting. This artform is practiced by only a handful of people and they all belong to the Khatri family from Nirona village in the Indian state of Gujarat. Rogan means 'oil' in Farsi. For this technique, heated castor oil is mixed with pigment to create a sticky and colorful syrup. This mixture is applied to fabrics with a metal marker, without the marker actually touching the fabric. A fascinating process of which a short video can be seen on our Instagram page, made when we visited Nirona. The designs are often not conceived in advance and arise naturally because the flowing movements always invite new forms of floral or geometric patterns.
Usually only half of the fabric is dyed. This is folded in half so that the paint reflects on the other half of the fabric. In our shop on the Prinsengracht there are some beautiful pieces of the Khatri family, namely Rogan on raw silk. If you are interested in discovering local textile processing techniques in India, the state of Gujarat has a lot to offer. Besides the village of Nirona, there are also other villages and towns, such as Bhuj, where the specialists in a variety of embroidery techniques, block printing (Ajrak), live in communities.