zardozi



A reflection of royalty, zardozi is an integral part of the wardrobe of every modern Indian woman worth her shoes. The beautiful story of zardozi goes back to ancient times. Known to adorn the Gods, It finds various mentions in Vedic literature, the Ramayana & Mahabharata and all accounts of the Sultanate period. Zardozi demands a prominent space amongst all handicrafts. Brought to Indian by the Afghan-Turk rulers, this imperial craft is the outcome of meticulous work done in the small households of the Old City. Zardozi is a fairy-tale crafted by the nimble fingers of the artisans.
Zardozi is one of the many handicrafts that are known to be passed down from one generation to the next besides Chikankari, Kantha, Kasuti, Toda etc. In India, the places most famous for zardozi work are Hyderabad, Lucknow, Jammu & Kashmir, Kolkata, Varanasi, Agra, Delhi and Farrukkabad. Traditionally, only men did zardozi work, and mostly in Lucknow and Kolkata but now, Hyderabad is growing as a major zardozi region. Today, a small percentage of zardozi workers in Hyderabad are women.

In the ancient times, the embroidery patterns were very ‘mughal’, involving floral and leaf patterns mostly. As times passed, the patterns have become more and more geometric but flowers, petals and leaves are still an integral part of it. With fabrics like velvet, satin and heavy silks as the base, metal wire and metal pieces are used to create some of the most elaborate and intricate arrangements. 
Did you know that the original embroidery of zardozi was done with pure silver wires coated with real gold?!! The wire that came out of the furnace, although containing a lot of silver in it, glittered like gold. This flattened wire was then twisted around silk threads to form the spring like zardozi. Heavy and grand to look at, garments made with zardozi could weigh a few killos!! Though silver and gold wires have now been replaced with synthetic threads, the art remains the same.
By the end of the Mughal era, the art declined because of its high cost and the lack of precious metals for the purpose of embroidery. It has been revived today and as a result, zardozi is used to make exquisite evening dresses, handbags, ceremonial adornments, cushion covers, wall hangings, table covers and boxes etc. A few European and American designers have set up workshops in India, which specialize in Zardozi work on cushion covers, table linen and even curtains. Zardozi embellished outfits have always been en vogue especially for weddings and special ceremonies. During the last fifty years, the revival of Zardozi has been phenomenal. Not only is it found in the latest designer outlets but also it is being used yet again for interiors of mega weddings and grand ceremonies. Today the Indian ramp is ablaze with products of the craftspeople the materials may not have the same aesthetic of the Mughals, but they do cater to the demand for highly ornamented garments with glittering beads and sequins.
Zardozi creations are eternal, unbound by the effects of changing trends. The richness of gold may no longer grace the work of Zardozi craftsman, but the glitter and glamour endures - hopefully it will for years to come. 

Zardozi is as tenacious as the wires the craftsmen work with.








{The links to the images and video can be find at Indiaah!!}




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1 comment:

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