The tradition of using wooden blocks to hand print saris and other textiles in Nepal is an ancient one; however, with the increasingly large scale import of silk and synthetic saris it is in serious danger of dying out. Hand-block printing by the ranjitkar, the specific Newar hereditary caste of block printers and dyers, has a long tradition in the Kathmandu Valley. Hand-blocked saris, once greatly in demand, are rarely worn now; however, hand-printed shawls, blouses, jackets, and waistbands are still popular. Unfortunately, the white cotton cloth with the distinctive black and red block-print patterns has now to compete with cheaper, imported copies.
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