The historical progress of the motifs of Bagru is difficult to understand. These are mostly derived from the flora and fauna and are natural in origin. A Comparative study of the evolution and layout of motifs clearly reveal a change from old tradition and style. Initially the prints were primarily floral and from vegetation. After the Persian influence they became more geometrical.
e.g. one finds a central round and then motifs are placed around it. The motifs of Bagru may be classified into five types:
1. Motifs of flowers and birds: These are often found in the stem or in the central motives which helps to balance the floral arrangement.
2. Motifs of inter-twisted tendrils: These are motifs of flowers comprising of spiralled or inter-twisted stems, with flowers, leaves or birds present on the same. These are used as ‘bels’.
3. Motifs of trellis designs: These are mainly the ‘Jaal’ intricate grid (connecting designs), which were formulated under the Persian influence.
4. Motifs of figurative designs: These are animal, bird and human motifs, e.g., ‘hiran’ (deer), mayur’ (peacock), ‘sua’ (parrot).
5. Motifs of geometrical designs: These are geometrical in shapes, e.g. ‘Leheriya’ (wave), ‘chaupad’ (check), ‘kanguras’ (triangular), ‘chatais’ (woven) pattern etc.
Generally each design has 2-4 colors. Each color has a separate block. Sometimes as many as 5-8 blocks are used depending on the design. However the cost of block making and production goes up accordingly.
• Finesse in flowers-petal designs, curves and delicacy are the prime specialties of Sanganer prints. The curvature of flowers in the ’bootas’ is generally shown on the right side. Different types of floral patterns are displayed in the form of a ‘bel’ (a border), in a stylized manner. Some of the flowers used in the prints are roses, rosettes, lotuses, lotus bud, sunflower, lily, ‘champa’ ‘canna’ ‘nergis’, marigold etc. Various other flower creations are also found in old Sanganeri prints. Other flowers used are locally known as ‘sosan’, ‘gainda’, ‘gulmehendi’, ‘javakusum’, ‘guldaudi’, ‘kachnar’, ‘jatadari lily’, ‘kaner’, ‘kanna’, ‘gullalla’, ‘Sosan’ and ‘gullala’ prints are probably very suitable to Sanganeri style of printing, therefore they are used in various forms.
• In ‘booties’, generally, only one type of flower-petal and bud creations is found; for example: ‘Badaam, (almond)’, ‘Paan’ (beetle leaf), ‘mukut of ‘kalanga’. While printing a sari, if the ‘booti’ is of ‘sosan’ flower then the ‘bel’ will also be of ‘sosan’ flower and a big ’boota’ of the same flower is usually done on the ‘Pallav’ (the decorative edge of the sari, which is displayed by the women, and left hanging from the shoulders ). Hence, for printing one sari, a large number of blocks need to be made. By printing different booties together, the Sanganeri ‘Cheepas’ have portrayed excellent know how. Sometimes more than three flowers are fitted beautifully in a single ‘booti’ e.g. in ‘Latkan booti’ banana tree, sosan tree and saro tree collection in assembled beautifully in one pattern. The designs are named according to the flowers or plant pattern, from which the designs were originally inspired.
• Many flowers used in Sanganeri prints don’t originate from Rajasthan. On this basis, Historian James watt has said, “Obviously many of the Sanganeri designs portray flowers that in not likely to have been seen by the calico printers nor by the block engravers of Rajputana. In spite of these circumstances, however, there seems every reason to believe that the craft has been handed down for centuries and has come to be used in all the purity of original inspiration.
• The nature, feeling and colour reciprocity, as also the technique in printing are all perfect while the absence of machine regularity gives a charm that place these goods above and beyond anything as yet accomplished in Europe.”
• Apart from flowers, fruit trees of banana, dates, grapes pomegranate etc. have also been recreated in a very attractive manner. In some old prints figures of parrots and fish are also seen. Since about fifty years, elephant. Horse, camel, peacock and human figures are also used. These are mostly seen on curtains, bedcovers, table clothes etc.