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
History is such a boring topic to start with . However, origin of chikan is still a mystery . Lets see if you can unravel it …..
Some say that chikan is a Persian carft brought in the court of Jahangir by Noor Jahan. According to some historians , there is floral muslin in paintings of Ajanta cave (9th century A.D.) . Kamla Devi Chattopadhaya states that chikan can be dated back to the time of king Harsha . Megasthenes in the 3rd Century B.C. has written the use of ‘flowered muslin’ in the court of Chandragupta Maurya. Dr. Rahul Shukla in his book talks about chikan as being an offshoot of Taj .
Ref : gambhir sakshi (august22,2015)retrieved from :
An ancient form of white floral embroidery, chikankari is worked with needle and raw thread. The word chikan is derived from the Persian word ‘chikin’ or ‘chikeen’ which means a kind of embroidered fabric . It is centered mainly in the Northern heartland of India , Lucknow.
We had the following genres to choose our topic from: Indian / International craft /Folk/Tribal Art /Design Movement / Bio mimicry. The other 4 categories were absolutely incommensurable.Hence I decided to choose 3 crafts – temari (a Japanese craft ) , origami ( a Japanese craft ) and chikankari ( an Indian craft ) . After my research on these 3 topics ,I pinned to choose chikankari . I did so because it was an “INDIAN” craft and primary information was handily available. Plunging more into the topic, I discovered how a dead craft revived over time and that grabbed my interest more. Having removing the anchor and setting the ship on sail … let us see if we sink or swim …..
I am Sana Kapur. I am pursuing Fashion Styling and Image Designing at Pearl Academy. I did my schooling from G.D. Goenka Public School , Vasant Kunj. I have chosen Pearl Academy for the results it has produced over the years and pine to be one of its finest products .
I am an avid artist who loves to dance and paint. I am a strong believer of the saying “shop till you drop !”. I pine to fully actualize my self in this life and gain from my every experience. I aspire to be a successful businesswoman .
My motto in life is: You have to be a dreamer to be an achiever.
‘Pen Your Thoughts’ will take you through my college journey. Like an everyday journal, I will be sharing my daily experiences with you all .Tread with me through my challenges of this semester. Having said so, my first challenge is to explore a craft that was once dead but now contributes tremendously to the Indian economy ‘chikankari ‘. C’mon friends, let us see what unfolds…..