Different styles of Indian embroidery have been handed down
from generation to generation: zardozi, chikankari, sujuni, kantha, kasuti,
toda, mirror work. The passion for embroidery in India has led to great
experimentation in the field, with several styles, creating dazzling effects such
as the 'stained glass' look, the long cross stitch, rice stitch, textured
panels and much more. One can see embroidery on wall hangings, saris, textiles
and garments, incorporating unique motifs and patterns.
Zardozi is one of the most beautiful embroidery styles of
India. Of Persian origin the word Zardozi literally means gold-work as it
describes the use of gold, silver metal wires, cords, purls and sequins, which
are couched through hand sewing on to
textiles. Brought to India by the Mughals it was used by court and aristocracy
to make up garments, wall hangings, royal tents and the trappings of the
elephants and horses used by the emperor.
Zardozi continues to
be used extensively in clothing and home decoration in India and for export. Painstakingly
and delicately done by hand on the Karchappa
floor frame, creations in zardozi work are timeless. Two forms of
Zardozi continue to be practiced - the zardosa where the work is elaborate,
intricate and heavy done on expensive and heavy weight silk, velvet or satin; and
the lighter kamdani which can be done on light-weight fabrics. With huge demand
and the necessity for speed the needle has been replaced in the couching by the
ari hooked needle.
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