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Chikan (Hindi: चिकन, Urdu: چکن‬‎) is a traditional embroidery style from Lucknow, India. Literally translated, the word means embroidery. Believed to have been introduced by Nur Jehan, Mughal emperor Jahangir's wife,[1] it is one of Lucknow's most famous textile decoration styles.
There are several theories about the origin of Chikankari. Chikankari - the process of chikan - was basically invented in Lucknow. It developed quickly during the period when the Mughals ruled and consisted of styles inspired by Persians. Lucknow grew into an international market for its renowned Chikankari work. There are references to Indian Chikan work as early as 3rd century BC by Megasthenes, who mentioned the use of flowered muslins by Indians. There is also a tale that mentions how a traveler taught Chikankari to a peasant in return of water to drink. However, the Noor Jahan story is the most popular of the lot.[2] The name Chikan has been derived from the Persian word Chakin or Chikeen meaning a cloth wrought with needlework
Chikan began as a type of white-on-white (or whitework) embroidery.
Chikankari is a delicate and artfully done hand embroidery on a variety of textile fabric like muslin, silk, chiffon, organza, net etc. White thread is embroidered on cool, pastel shades of light muslin and cotton garments. Nowadays chikan embroidery is also done with coloured and silk threads in different colours to meet the recent fashion trends and keep chikankari up-to-date. Lucknow is the heart of the Chikankariindustry today and the variety is known as Lucknawi chikan.
Chikankari or Chikan work in the recent times has also adapted additional embellishments like Mukaish, Kamdani, Badla, Kamdani, Sequin, bead and mirror work, which gives it a rich look. Chikan embroidery is mostly done on fabrics like, Cotton, Semi Georgette, Pure Georgette, Crepe, Chiffon, Silk and any other fabric which is light and which highlights the embroidery. Also, it should be taken care of that the fabric is not too thick or hard, else the embroidery needle won't pierce it.
The piece begins with the use of one or more pattern blocks that are used to block-print a pattern on the ground fabric. The embroiderer then stitches the pattern, and the finished piece is carefully washed to remove all traces of the printed pattern.
Chaniya Choli * The Traditional chanya choli or ghagra as it is often called has very strong traditions that date back to nearly 1500 B.C. with the coming of the Aryans in India. The Vedas (coming from the root word vid which means knowledge) have given indications in classics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata that the beautiful chania cholis was the favorites outfit for the women of that era. In a popular episode of the Mahabharata, naughty Lord Krishna known for his mischief in his childhood is believed to have hidden the chaniya-cholis of Radha, his friend, and the gopis (young girls) while they were taking a dip in the stream. * The garba or dandiya raa.s a popular dance of Gujarat which is performed with sticks during the nine nights of Navratri prior to the Dusshera festival, requires the ladies to wear the chaniya-choli. It is the swirling movements of the dance that need a more flared garment. The sari being quite restrictive is not suitable. * In modern times, it was the screening of popular TV serials like the Ramayana and Mahabharata that gave a tremendous boost to the designer chaniya cholis as a fashion garment. No longer is the garment restricted to just the nine nights before Dusshera; it is now a co-ordinate worn by girls throughout the year. As an outfit it has universal appeal since anyone from the age of 6-60 years can wear it. The home of the fashion chaniya cholis is no doubt Kutch, Gujarat and Rajasthan. The outfit is popular in the west and north of India. In the south, another more streamlined version known as the pavade is popular. Fabrics that are used for chaniya-cholis/exclusive chaniya cholis normally range from cotton, silk to khadi and at times chiffon, organza, satin cotton, raw silk and brocade. But the last variety is only for weddings and formal occasions.


Kashida of Kashmir

Kashmiri embroidery is well known for the beauty of its colour, texture, design and technique. Probably, the best-known Indian embroidery is the 'Kashida of Kashmir'. This embroidery is revealed in shawls and in cottage industry done by the members of families in Srinagar. Kashmiri embroidery is practiced by men and it is essentially a commercial craft. | | According to Ramala S. Dongekery, the shawl industry in Kashmir was introduced by Zain-ul-Abedin. Akbar was also responsible for introducing a new type of shawl - the Dowshala meaning “Twin shawl”. In this two similar shawls were woven together, then sewn back to back. So the under surface of the shawls were not visible. Khwaja Yusuf during his stay in Kashmir got the idea of producing shawls with help of 'Rafoogar'. These were later known as “Amli Shawls”. Amli shawls were plain-woven shawls, which were ornamented with needle wholly. The plain- woven cloth of the amli was placed smooth and flat and then rubbed with a piece of polished agate till it becomes perfectly even.The design is drawn on paper and with needles lines are pricked through. The charcoal powder is rubbed on the perforated holes to transfer the design on the fabric. The stitch used was the darning stitch, the thread being made to pick up the loops of the warp thread. The technique has made the embroidery look as prepared on the loom. | |

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