Textile printing is a general name for all woven fabrics and the art of ornamenting such fabrics by printing on designs or patterns in color is very ancient, probably originating in the East. more...
This sort of printing had practically disappeared in the west, as it was unsuitable for manufacture on a large scale. However in recent times, it has seen its reemergence due to digital design and printing on fabrics based on customized demands.
It has been practiced in some form, with considerable success, in China and India from time immemorial, and the Chinese, at least, are known to have made use of engraved wood-blocks many centuries before any kind of printing was known in Europe. That the early Egyptians, too, were acquainted with the art is proved not merely by the writings of Pliny but by the discovery, in the Pyramids and other Egyptian tombs, of fragments of cloth which were undoubtedly decorated by some method of printing.
The Incas of Peru, Chile and Mexico also practiced textile printing previous to the Spanish Invasion in 1519; but, owing to the imperfect character of their records before that date, it is impossible to say whether they discovered the art for themselves, or, in some way, learnt its principles from the Asiatics.
There is no doubt that India was the source from which, by two different channels, Europeans derived their knowledge of block printing. By land its practice spread slowly westwards through Persia, Asia Minor and the Levant, until it was taken up in Europe during the latter halt of the 17th century. Almost at the same time the French brought directly by sea, from their colonies on the east coast of India, samples of Indian blue and white resist prints, and along with them, particulars of the processes by which they had been produced.
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