Rediscovering Jajam:

The People's Textile (2018)

For centuries jajam printing flourished in many regions of Rajasthan. Embedded in the local culture, these large decorative floorcloths of thick reza hand-loom cotton were naturally dyed and block printed for a multitude of social and cultural activities.

Traditional village council members gathered on communally-owned jajam while making undisputed social or judicial decisions. The floorcovers also honoured visiting guests or provided convenient seating at fairs and festivals. Exquisitely crafted with a complex process, they were also a popular marital gift or temple offering.

Jajam demonstrate the best of a block printer’s skills; however, modernisation has  slowly altered the customs of local communities. Without commissions, only a handful of chhipa printers retain the craftsmanship or resolve to continue. Many artisans began using inexpensive chemical dyes instead of the laborious natural method of syahi-begar for rich traditional red and black colours. Fewer rely on traditional motifs.

Rediscovering Jajam brings these remarkable textiles out of obscurity. The exhibition focuses on the craftspeople, highlighting their stories while simultaneously studying their work and the cultural significance of these heritage textiles.