Kalamkari is the earliest and more complex technique of block-printing on cloth using vegetable dyes. This flourished in Andhra Pradesh. Originally known as Coromandel chintz. The origin of the word kalamkari is from kalam or pen and kari or work. The kalamkari done here is a mixture of painting and hand-printing.
The process followed is complex and intricate, and the blocks used are made by specialist artisans. Mordants like alum are used to fix the colours onto the cloth. Wax is used as the resist agent when a combination of colours are used. The process takes several days, weeks or months depending on the length of the cotton cloth.
The motifs used are floral and animal designs from the Persian influence.