Not only for tasty delicacies is the royal capital of Uttar Pradesh also famous for its traditional exclusive Chikankari Embroidery. Word ‘Chikan’ was basically derived from Persian word ‘Chikeen’. Earlier days, the Chikankari embroidery is traditionally done on mulmul- fine muslin cotton. This embroidery is over 400 years old with a firm presence in the Indian and global fashion arena.
History of Chikankari Embroidery:
The presence of Chikanakri Embroidery was seen in the 3rd Century AD during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya, but the exact origin of this technique remains a mystery to date. Another tale of this embroidery is The Mughal Emperor Jahangir’s consort, Noor Jahan, was a known talented embroiderer with a particular fondness for Chikankari work.
After the downfall of the empire, the artisans of chikankari spread all over India and founded various centers for re-establishment in the 18th and 19th Century. Lucknow was the main hub initially and later becomes the permanent hub of this embroidery.
Process of Chikankari Embroidery:
The pre-work involves determining the design and engraving the same onto wooden block stamps. These stamps are then used for block printing the design onto the cloth with the help of neel and safeda dyes. The piece of fabric is then cut according to the form that the garment is supposed to take.
“The most amazing feature of chikankari is the stitches. Each and every single stitch is done with great perfection and extreme detailing. The motifs of this embroidery are unique and they impact a rich look to the fabric.”
After that comes the process of embroidery. First, the fabric is set into a frame and than needlework begins to trace the ink patterns. The type of stitching used depends on the specialty of the region and the type and size of the motifs. Also, different types of clothes are used nowadays for this embroidery.