Having read so much about this beautiful craft aren’t you feeling something because I surely am . I am having an urge to grab my sketchbook and pencils . Aren’t you ?
You must be wondering what this picture is all about …
Well, this is all what inspires me about chikankari. This is my inspiration board. It exhibits the journey of chikan. From hand to machine work from plain to zari , it has it all. Look at the motifs, aren’t they splendid ? The jali work of chikan is also a feast for the eyes and the creative mind .
Chikankari is not only limited to salwarkameez and kurta pajama . it is also found in western outfits like funky tops and skirts. Tone on tone embroidery is also in vogue and elements like beads, sequins mokaish and crochet is also used. It is also used in home furnishing like table cloth , bed lenin and cushion covers.
The white on white chikan has evolved to become a better piece of craft over the period of time. C’mon lets dig deep and see its evolution .
The Mughal rulers were greatly influenced by the Persian floral patterns. The indian artists used more flowy designs that stiffy formal Persian styles.
After the decline of the Mughal empire, many artists fled to awadh . In Awadh ,the craft flourished under the Nawabi influence. Ealier ,garments were s fragile that they had to be discarded after few washes.
During the British rule, thanks to the low priced milled textile,chikankari suffered. This resulted in exploitation of workers. With the British influence,designs became more formal and other items began to be created.
In earlier days , chikan was done on white mulmul cloth . Due to the shortage of mulmul and changing market trends, this work is done on –cotton, wool, chiffon, crepe and silk using contrast color threads.
The lifestyle of artists has also improved as rates of fabric has increased due to the hike in demand.
During industrialization, commercial copycats and imitations emerged. Fabric blends and machine embroidery was introduced to cut production cost . Small and big designer houses began to add crystals, zardozi and mukaish elements.
Ever wondered what might be the source of inspiration of this beautiful intricate embroidery ?
Source of most motifs in chikan is Mughal . Noor Jahan’s desire to replicate Turkish architecture led to jaali in embroidery . The bel or creeper is the most commonly used motif. Animals and flowers are also made including – fish,elephant,mango,coriander leaf,ghas patti and murri.
Ref: Self Employed Women’s Association (n.d.) retrieved from