PRINTED CLOTHS. The art of calico-printing is one which was common to the ancient Egyp tians and Indians, and is still largely practised by the latter, and with a skill which produces much to be admired, even in the midst of the productions of the world, and after many attempts have been made to improve an art certainly im ported from the east. Pliny was acquainted with the art by which cloths, though immersed in a heated dyeing liquor of one uniform colour, came out tinged with different colours, and afterwards could not be discharged by washing. The people of India were found practising the art when first visited by Europeans, and Calicut on the Malabar coast has given its name to calico.
The large cotton chintz counterpanes, called pallampoors (palangpoeh), which from an early period have been made in the East Indies, are prepared by placing on the cloth a pattern of wax, and dyeing the parts not so protected.
The colours used in calico-printing are derived from all the three kingdoms of nature, but it seldom happens that solutions, infusions, or decoc tions of these colours admit of being applied at once to the cloth without some previous prepara tion, either of the cloth itself, or of the colouring material. It is often necessary to apply some substance to the cloth which shall act as a bond of union between it and the colouring matter. The substance is usually a metallic salt, which has an affinity for the tissue of the cloth as well as for the colouring matter when in a state of solution, and forms with the latter an insoluble compound. Such a substance is called a mordant (from the latin Mordere, to bite), a term given byltlie French dyers, under the idea that it exerted a corrosive action on the fibre, expanding tho pores, and allowing the colour to be absorbed. The usual mordants are common alum and several salts of alumina, peroxide of tin, protoxide of tin, and oxide of chrome. These have an affinity for colouring matters, but many of their salts have also a considerable attraction for the tissue of the cloth, which withdraws them to a certain extent from their solutions. Mordants are useful for all those vegetable and animal colouring matters which are soluble in water, but have not a strong affinity for tissues. The action of the mordant is to withdraw them from solution, and to form with them, upon the cloth itself, certain compounds which are insoluble in water. In European cloth-printing, although the methods employed are numerous, and the combinations of colours and shades of colour almost infinite, yet each colour in a pattern must, in the present state of the art, be applied by one of six different styles of work. These are termed-1. the madder style ; 2. printing by steam ; 3. the paddling style ; 4. the resist style ; 5. the discharge style ; and 6. the China-blue style. By the proper
combination of two or more of these styles, any pattern, however complicated, is produced. The processes actually required for finishing a piece of cloth are numerous, as, for example, in produc ing a red stripe upon a white ground, the bleached cloth is submitted to nineteen operations, as follows :-1. Printing on mordant of red liquor (a preparation of alumina) thickened with flour, and dyeing ; 2. ageing for three days ; 3. dunging ; 4. wincing in cold water ; 5. washing at the dash wheel ; 6. wincing in dung-substitute and size ; 7. wincing in cold water ; 8. dyeing in madder ; 9. wincing in cold water ; 10. washing at the dash-wheel ; 11. wincing in soap-water containing a salt of tin; 12. washing at the dash-wheel ; 13. wincing in soap-water ; 14. wincing in a solution of bleaching-powder ; 15. washing at the dash wheel ; 16. drying by the water extractor ; 17. folding ; 18. starching ; 19. drying by steam.
Indian dyers apply the mordants both by pencils and by engraved blocks. Blocks are used throughout India, but silk handkerchiefs had the parts where the round spots were to be, tied up with thread, so as not to be affected by the dye liquors, and it was from this process of tying (bandhna) that they received the name of band ana. The cloth-printers at Dacca stamp the figures on cloth which is to be embroidered. The stamps are formed of small blocks of kantul (Artocarpus) wood, with the figures carved in relief. The colouring matter is a red earth im ported from Bombay, probably the so-called Indian earth from the Persian Gulf. Though the art is now practised to much perfection in Europe, the Indian patterns still retain their own particular beauties, and command a crowd of i admirers. This is no doubt due in a great measure to the knowledge which they have of the effects of colours, and the proportion which they preserve between the ground and the pattern, by winch a good effect is procured both at a dis tance and on a near inspection. Printed cloths are worn occasionally, as in lterar and Bendel khand, for sarees ; and the ends and borders have peculiar local patterns. There is also a class of prints on coarse cloth, used for the skirts or petticoats of women of some of the lower classes in Upper India ; but the greatest demand for printed cloths is for palcmporcs, or single quilts. In the costlier garments woven in India, the borders and ends are entirely of gold thread and silk, the former predominating. Printing in gold and in silver is a branch of the art which has been carded to great perfection in India, as well upon thick calico as upon fine muslin. The size which is used is not mentioned, but in the Bin. mese territory the juice of a plant is used, which no doubt contains caoutchouc in a state of solution.