Printing Block for Printing Fabrics

Poschiavo, probably middle 19th century

With wooden models patterns can be rapidly printed on fabrics, combined with each other and replicated. The origins of this technique probably lie in India, the cotton fabrics produced in this way were called «Indiennes».

In Switzerland «calico printing» spread starting in the 17th century. So that new professions resulted: the draughtsman for the pattern, the engraver who notched it out of the wood and the printer who pressed the model into the inking pad and printed it on the stretched fabric.

In Graubünden the textile industry was never able to establish itself to the same extent as it did in other cantons. Nevertheless, the approximately 200 printing blocks in the collection prove that even here fabric printing was carried out.