Romanticizing the Chintz of India

Who would not like some music in their daily lives. Moreover, if it’s some tadka of old Indian Bollywood style, none can hold their joy over it. Talking about Bollywood songs – have you heard of the song …

“pan khaye sayian humare…savli suratiya pe chintz lal lal…aye Haye malmal ka kurta…” 

While listening to this evergreen classic none must have imagined how beautifully it praised the traditional design of “Chintz”. 

A classic as this song goes – equally classic goes the history of this breath taking designing technique. “Chintz” refers to a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton fabric that originated in India. The word “chintz” is derived from the Hindi word “Chint,” which means spotted or variegated. This textile has a rich history and has been produced in India for centuries.

Let’s travel back to the history if chintz and romanticize the beauty of its influence 

Designs and Patterns:

Chintz is known for its vibrant and intricate designs, often featuring floral motifs, birds, and other nature-inspired elements. The patterns are typically created using a resist-dyeing technique.

Production Technique: 

Skilled artisans in India used traditional hand-painting and block-printing techniques to create vibrant and intricate designs on cotton fabric. The fabric is then dyed, and additional layers of color are added through subsequent rounds of printing and dyeing. 


Chintz production has historical roots in India, particularly in regions like Gujarat and the Coromandel Coast. It gained popularity in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries and became highly sought after for clothing and home furnishings. 

Many also argue that chintz the painted or stained calico originates and has been produced in Hyderabad, India from 1600 to 1800. Where Vasco da Gama has a great role to play to help it travel the rest of India mainly channelising towards Europe

European Influence:

European maritime powers established trading posts and colonies in India during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Portuguese and the Dutch played significant roles in importing Indian textiles, including chintz, to Europe.

Chintz gained immense popularity in Europe due to its unique designs and vibrant colors. The exotic patterns and lightweight cotton fabric appealed to European tastes, leading to a surge in demand. European demand for chintz led to the development of imitations and adaptations in Europe. 

European manufacturers sought to replicate the success of Indian chintz. They attempted to imitate the intricate patterns using their own printing and dyeing techniques. This led to the development of European chintz, produced both in England and the Netherlands. 

In the 17th century, European countries, especially England and the Netherlands, started to produce their own versions of chintz completely ignoring the originality of it as well as looking at the time management and cost effectiveness of bulk printing instead of hand blocking leading to the death of the untimely death of this one of its kind charmer.

Indian textiles, including chintz, became highly coveted commodities along the ancient trade routes. Merchants from Europe, particularly the Dutch and the Portuguese, were involved in maritime trade with India.


Chintz fabrics have been used for multiple purposes, including clothing, drapery, upholstery, and other decorative items. Chintz fabrics were used for a variety of purposes in Europe, including clothing, drapery, upholstery, and interior decorations. They became fashionable and sought after in elite circles.

While chintz has a long and fascinating history, it’s important to note that the term has evolved over time and may refer to various printed or decorated textiles with similar characteristics. Today, chintz continues to be appreciated for its aesthetic appeal and historical significance in the world of textiles.

Companies like the Dutch East India Company and the British East India Company played pivotal roles in the import and distribution of chintz. The fabric became a symbol of status and wealth in European society.

The introduction of chintz to Europe not only influenced fashion but also had a significant impact on European textile industries. Over time, chintz became a staple in European homes and fashion, contributing to the rich tapestry of cultural exchanges between the East and the West. 

Where the Europeans enjoyed the printed chintz material, the traditional Indian artisans still hold back to their roots, trying to keep this flawlessly fascinating enchantress alive the way it was born.