The ‘Rogan’ art painting is an ancient art form – over four hundred years old | Luxurionworld -->

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August 10, 2015 2 min read

Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi gifted the extremely rare Indian Art form – ‘Rogan’ art to the US president, Mr. Obama during his visit to the US.

The 400-year-old ‘Rogan’ art is the unique and rare art form practised only by the Khatri family from Kutch region of Gujarat. The word ‘Rogan’ refers to oil based in Persian. ’Rogan’ is the technique of painting on fabric, crafted from thick brightly coloured paint made with castor seed oil.

Castor is a local crop grown in Kutch region of Gujarat and artists most likely sourced it from farmers originally. The ‘Rogan’ paint is prepared by heating castor oil in a vessel, continuously stirring for more than 12 hours until it catches fire. The product so prepared is mixed with cold water when it gets thicken into a sticky elastic residue called ‘Rogan’. The preparer has to be extremely careful to prevent getting it burnt. ‘Rogan’ is then mixed with natural colours for painting. The colours are stored in earthen pots with water to retain their malleable form to enable painting.

Artisans place a small amount of this paint paste into their palm. At room temperature, the paint is carefully twisted into motifs and images are drawn with the same using a metal rod that never comes in contact with the fabric. The image is drawn on the one side of the central line of the fabric, which then is folded to create a mirror image on the other side of the fabric. ‘Rogan’ painting is delicate and precisely painted from one’s own creative imagination and is done with total concentration sitting on the floor without using a table-frame or any outline. ‘Rogan’ painted cloth is used for making pillow covers, tablecloths, wall hangings, file folders, decorative pieces and saris.


‘Rogan’ art is a rare craft that is not well known even in India. Because of its rare qualities, till recently it was practiced by only one family in India and they reside in Nirona village in Gujarat. Most of the other artisans had lost their art as it was not passed on during partition or lost from generation to generation.  However the artisans through various efforts from revival communities have off late successfully revived the craft. While designed used to be more rustic, over time the craft has become more stylized and now is an evolved Art form.

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400 year old art form- Rogan Art

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