What is Rogan Art?

by Annie Saxena on Mar 16, 2023

What is Rogan Art?

Rogan painting is a form of textile printing that is practiced throughout Sindh, Peshawar, and Gujarat. Using a metal block (for printing) or a stylus, paint produced from boiling oil and vegetable colors is applied to fabric in this craft (painting). In the latter half of the 20th century, just a handful of families in Gujrat, India, and Peshawar's Qissa Khwani bazar, Pakistan, continued the craft, which was on the verge of extinction. The name itself is an Urdu translation of a Persian word that meaning oil.’

The Hindu and Muslim Khatris, a community in Gujarat, were the first to paint fabric with this oil-based paint. Although the term "rogan" and some of the traditional designs reflect an Indian culture origin, this cannot be verified by trustworthy historical archives. Persian is the origin of the term "rogan," which means varnish or oil.

What is Rogan Art?

The Kutch region of Gujarat, India, is where the traditional folk art form known as "rogan art" first appeared. Using a stylus and a paste consisting of castor oil, lime, and natural colors, elaborate drawings are produced on fabric.

The distinguishing characteristic of Rogan art is the way the design is produced on one side of the fabric and then the mirror image is transferred to the other side, creating a lovely, symmetrical design. The patterns typically feature plants and animals, and the color scheme is restricted to red, white, and black.

The creation of rogan art is a labor- and time-intensive procedure that calls for extensive training. In families, it is typically passed down from one generation to the next, but in recent years, initiatives have been undertaken to promote the art form and give Young artists financial opportunity.

What are the Techniques Used in Rogan Art?

The distinctive art style known as "rogan art" uses a specific process to produce elaborate motifs on fabric. The basic methods employed in Rogan art are as follows:

How to make Rogan paste: Castor oil is heated on a low flame while lime water is added to make rogan paste. After that, the paste is combined with natural pigments to produce a variety of hues.

Rogan art is formed with a cloth and a stylus that is either a bamboo stick or a metal rod with a metal nib at the end. On the fabric, the artist creates elaborate patterns using the stylus.

Transfer method: The transfer method utilized to produce symmetrical designs is what makes Rogan art distinctive. First, the artist uses the Charcoal paste to draw a pattern on one side of the fabric. The design is then transferred to the opposite side of the fabric once the fabric has been folded in half, creating a mirror image of the original design.

Application of color: The artist uses a brush or their fingers to add color to the design once it has been transferred to the fabric. The only available colors are often black, white, and red.

Drying and finishing: Following completion of the design, the fabric is let to air dry outside. The design is lasting because of the natural adhesive properties of the Rogan paste. The  finished fabric can be used for clothing, wall hangings, or other decorative purposes.

How to Make Rogan Art at Home?

It can be entertaining and creative to create Rogan art at home. However it's crucial to remember that Rogan art is a specialized art form that takes a lot of talent and training. To create Rogan art at home, follow these simple instructions:

Supplies required:

Cotton fabric in white.

Lime juice with Castor oil

Natural colors (black, white, and red)

Stick of bamboo or a stylus



Instructions include:

Trim the cotton cloth to the required size and wash it to get rid of any impurities, according to the instructions.

On a low flame, warm the castor oil in a pan. When you gradually stir in the lime juice to the oil, the mixture will eventually become thick and sticky.

Make small pieces of the Rogan paste and combine each with a different natural pigment (black, white, and red).

Draw a pattern on one side of the fabric using the Clay paste and a bamboo stick or stylus.

To get the design to show up on the other side of the fabric, fold the fabric in half and lightly push down.

Apply the natural colors with a paintbrush on the pattern. Keep in mind to work meticulously and precisely to avoid any color bleeding or smudge.

Let the fabric several hours in the sun to dry.

To solidify the colors and make the design permanent, iron the fabric once it has completely dried.

Remember, it takes a lot of practice and time to create Amazing art. If your first try doesn't turn out properly, don't panic; just keep practicing and experimenting with different patterns and hues until you get the results you want.

What are the Elements of Rogan Art?

A distinctive folk art style from Gujarat, India's Kutch region is called rogan art. Using a stylus and a paste consisting of castor oil, lime, and natural colors, beautiful drawings are produced. The essential components of Rogan art are as follows:

Rogan art designs frequently feature flora and fauna, including flowers, birds, and other creatures. The patterns and minute elements that give the designs a sense of texture and depth are frequently symmetrical and detailed.

Color: Black, white, and red make up the majority of the limited color palette used to create Rogan art. The colors are utilized to contrast the design and draw attention to certain areas.

Technique: The transfer process utilized to produce symmetrical designs is what distinguishes Rogan art from other forms. Rogan paste is used to make a design on one side of the fabric, which is then folded in half to transfer the design to the other side, creating a mirror image of the original design.

Traditionally, cotton or silk cloth has been used to create rogan art. To guarantee that the design will stick well, the fabric is cleaned and prepped before the Adhesive paste is applied.

Symbolism: Rogan art compositions frequently include hidden meanings that are connected to Indian mythology and culture. For instance, a lotus flower pattern can stand for spiritual enlightenment and purity, while a peacock design might symbolize beauty and grace.

These components work together to produce the distinct beauty and minute detail of Rogan art, which makes it a prized cultural asset of India.

What is the Importance of Rogan Art?

Rogan art is a significant element of India's cultural legacy, especially in Gujarat's Kutch region, where it first appeared. Some of the significance of Rogan art includes the following:

A traditional form of art Rogan art is a traditional folk art style that has been produced by craftspeople in the Kutch region for many years. Being a reflection of the area's distinctive history, customs, and way of life, it plays a significant role in shaping its cultural identity.

Maintaining traditional skills: Rogan art demands a great level of workmanship and ability. This art form can be kept alive by artisans by maintaining it and continuing to teach earlier generations the necessary skills and methods.

Economic opportunity: Rogan art can help craftsmen in the Kutch region by generating income through promotion and sales. Rogan art may boost regional economies by increasing demand for their products and giving artists and their families a source of income.

Cultural exchange: Outside of India's borders, Rogan art has become well-known and a source of national pride. It can encourage cultural interchange and understanding by promoting India's rich cultural legacy by exposing Rogan art to the globe.

Artistic expression: Rogan art serves as a vehicle for the artistic expression of its craftspeople, enabling them to produce elaborate and exquisite designs that showcase their ingenuity, skill, and originality.

India's rich history, traditions, and artistic heritage are all reflected in the Rogan art, which is a significant cultural treasure. The country as a whole as well as the Kutch region can benefit economically and culturally from its preservation and promotion.

Who Started Rogan Art?

Although its exact roots are unknown, Rogan art is thought to have started several centuries ago in the Kutch district of Gujarat, India. The Muslim Rogan artists, who are thought to have migrated from Iran to India, were the original practitioners of the art style. Oil, a crucial component in the art form, is what gives the name "Rogan" its Persian origin.

The Rogan painters were instructed by a Sufi saint to use a stylus and a paste made of castor oil, lime, and natural colors to make the elaborate designs, according to folklore. This art form was later brought to the Kutch region. The Rogan painters then established their own distinctive style by adding local flora and fauna into their works.

A tiny group of craftspeople in the Kutch region still practice Rogan art today, continuing to protect and promote this distinctive cultural heritage.

Who can Create Rogan Art?

It takes a lot of ability and workmanship to create Rogan art, which is a distinctive and detailed art style. To become an expert in the skills required to produce Rogan art, it can take years of practice. Yet everyone can learn to make Rogan art if they put the time and effort into it.

The Rogan artists, a Muslim group of artisans who practiced Rogan art historically, passed on their knowledge and methods from one generation to the next. The Kutch region of Gujarat, India, is still home to a tiny number of Rogan artists who continue to protect and promote this distinctive cultural tradition.

The Rogan artist community itself, however, is not the only group of people or establishment that provides instruction in the Rogan art form. The majority of these training courses include both theoretical and practical teaching, as well as an introduction to the tools and methods used in Rogan art.

Overall, everyone who has a passion for Rogan art and a willingness to study can produce their own exquisite Rogan art creations. The ultimate result might be a wonderful work of art that captures India's distinct beauty and cultural traditions, however it might take time, practice, and dedication.

What are the Different Types of Rogan Art?

There is only one kind of Rogan art, which consists of drawing detailed patterns on cloth with a stylus and a paste consisting of castor oil, lime, and natural colors. Rustic art, however, allows for the employment of a variety of styles and methods to produce diversity in the patterns. Here are some illustrations:

Rogan art customarily: The traditional motifs and patterns used in this type of Rogan artwork have been handed down through the generations of Rogan painters. These patterns, which frequently include flora and fauna including flowers, birds, and animals, are distinguished by their meticulous intricacy and symmetry.

Rogan art in the contemporary era: Several artists have created their own distinct styles within the Rogan art genre, adding contemporary features and methods. This can entail employing a broader spectrum of hues, experimenting with various textures, or producing more abstract patterns.

Rogan paste is used by certain artists to produce a design on a wooden block, which is then used to print the design onto fabric. This process is known as block printing Rogan art. This method makes it possible to create designs on a larger size and may be more effective for making several copies of a design.

Rogan art in three dimensions: Using the Rogan paste, some artists have created methods for producing three-dimensional artwork. This can involve making three-dimensional items, such flowers or animals, that can be glued to the fabric, or using the paste to create raised textures and patterns on the fabric.

Overall, Rogan art is a very adaptable art style that can be developed by artists to produce a vast variety of one-of-a-kind and stunning patterns.


Rogan painting was once done across the state of Gujarat. Most of the lower caste women who wished to embellish their bridal attire and bed coverings bought the painted fabric. As a result, it was a seasonal craft, with the most of the work being done in the months leading up to wedding season. The artisans would transition to other types of work, including agriculture, for the remainder of the year.

Roghan-painted goods became comparatively more expensive as machine-made, cheaper fabrics proliferated in the late 20th century, and many artists moved on to other fields of work. In the end, just a few families in Gujarat kept up the skill.