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SUBMITTED BY: IVANSHI SRIVASTAVA F&LA 7 ROLL NO.: 13
History of Chikankari Chikankari is an ancient from of white floral embroidery. namely Lucknow. Workshops were established wherein this embroidery was practiced and perfected. though it is no longer practiced there. suffered deeply at the hands of commercialization. The craft flourished under the Nawabi influence. lost its way sometimes in mediocrity and yet stayed alive. A study of the origin of chikan reveals that this form of embroidery had come to India from Persia with Nur Jahan. the capital of Uttar Pradesh. whereas skirts. the queen of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. saris. In all probability the word chikan is used for the white floral embroidery that Nur Jahan brought with her from Persia. who had found favour with the last Mughal king. Some settled in west Bengal. the craft is alive and struggling to regain some of its former beauty and elegance. is a tribute to the skill and will of the crafts persons who have handed down this technique from generations. renowned for its timeless grace and delicacy. These items found a place in the prestigious homes in Europe and England. This brought a formalisation of designs to a large extent. the capital of a large state. the artisans and craftsmen scattered across the India. Historians believe this could be chikan. designs became more formal and items other than ethnic apparel began to be created. After the decline and fall of the Mughal court. Some historians opine. this fine white embroidery on transparent white fabric has delighted the heart of king and commoners alike. It is centred mainly in the northern India. brought to the Mughal Court of the Emperor Jahangir by his beautiful and talented wife Nur Jahan. Earlier garments were so fragile that they had to be discarded after a few washes --this explains why early samples of chikan garments are not available. Some fled to the Northern state of Awadh and settled in the royal courts of the descendents of Burhan . This form of embroidery became very popular with the king and his nobles and was embroidered on the finest cloth. that chikan is a Persian craft. intricately worked with needle and raw thread. The queen was a talented embroiderer and she so pleased the king with this art of white floral embroidery that it was soon given recognition and royal patronage. The . is the centre of chikan embroidery. Uttar Pradesh. It has survived the loss of royal patronage. The word 'chikan’ is probably a derivative from the Persian word ‘chikin’ or 'chikeen' which means a kind of embroidered fabric. a skill more than 200 years old exploited.Ivanshi Srivastava Chikan Embroidery Lucknow. In fact. commercialised but not dead.ul . Its delicacy is mesmerising. Bahadur Shah Jafar and was appointed as the governor of Awadh. specimens of which are still available. The garments are first stitched and then embroidered. and table linen are first embroidered and then finished. There are some very fine Mughal miniatures that depict the Emperor Jahangir in white flowing muslim garments. which resulted in an export market.Mulk a Persian nobleman. so for some time chikan flourished in Calcutta. The ladies of the harem competed with each other in making white embroidered caps for the Nawabs in order to be noticed and favoured. The origin of chikan are shrouded in mystery and legend. For centuries. With the British influence. Chikan embroidery is done on fine cotton fabric.
while others are worked from the right side. Some of these have equivalents in other embroideries. There is a discipline and method in the application of the stitches. the cutting is called katub). For example. Trade is now predominantly practiced by woman in Lucknow and adjoining villages. while satin stitching is done exclusively on delicate fabrics like silk. In chikan. ghas patti (grass leaves Vshaped line of stitches worked in a graduated series). keel (first phanda is formed . or stem. A large number of men were practising this art of embroidery since nineteenth century. petal.each worker completes his/her bit and the fabric is then sent to the next embroiderer. gitti (circle is formed with minute hole in centre).joda murri (pair of grains). the left hand supports and controls the thread so that the stitches take the right shape. Different specialists work with different types of stitches. the rest are manipulations that make them distinctive and unique. generally made using taipchi stitch ).maharaki (close button hole is done around a hole. and finished with murri). The wages for each job are fixed separately.diagonal stitches are worked several times on a basic stitch to form a grain shape). tanjire (for lining the motif. stitched and extra fabric is cut. looks like a chain). the chain stitch (zanjeera) will only be used for the final outline of a leaf. phanda is made and a straight stitch is done to make the base of the stem. individual motifs or butis of animals and flowers were also made. dhum patti (leaf pattern made of cross-stitch). kangan (bracelet-made by combination ofkeel. Some of the popular motifs are: Kairi (mango motif. These can be broadly divided into 3 heads . then on its top 3-4 similar chains). For example. the portion of the cloth to be embroidered is placed over the index finger of the left hand. the needle is held in the right hand while inserting it into the fabric.flat stitches. The needle is pulled away from the embroiderer who starts from the nearest end and finished at the farthest end. daraz/katub (two fabrics are overlapped. murri (grain motif .bel or creeper was the most commonly used design. sadi-maharaki (no hole is made. In traditional chikan no frames were used. supported by the rest of the fingers. They cover almost all the embroidery stitches of the country and have interesting and descriptive names. and the open trellis-like jaali work. open work or jaali is not done by embroiderers who do the filling work . or linen. pechani (taipchi stitch is covered by entwining the thread over it in a regular manner to provide the effect of a lever spring). It is however unique in its discipline in as much as stitches designated for a particular purpose are used only for that purpose --. the muslin from Dacca. Chikan embroidery has a repertoire of about 40 stitches of which about 30 are still being used. which are commonly made by mixing a glue and indigo with water. leaving the thumb free. muslin. In chikan some stitches are worked from the wrong side of the fabric. The design to be embroidered is printed on the fabric with wooden blocks. Fish (mahi) was a very common motif in Lucknow and used widely because it was the emblem of the Court of Awadh. dhaniya patti (corriander leaf). Fine Art of Chikan Embroidery Originally embroidery was done on white tanjeb. the part made in the centre is finishedwith tapichi and murri). phanda (single chain is made. For extra fine designs. using only white untwisted cotton or some times tussar silk for embroidery. murri andjali stitch). raised and embossed stitches. brass-blocks are sometimes used. using fugitive colours.they are not replaced by other stiches. The darn stitch is worked on rough cotton fabric to fill angular designs and to cover the surface of the fabric.
The floats of thread lie on the surface of the fabric. In chikankari. kangira (seam allowance of fabric is folded such that triangles are formed on the wrong side of the fabric). not pear shaped as in murri. The knots are spherical and very small. Names of jaali techniques suggest the place . The threads of the fabric are teased apart to make neat regular holes or jaalis. It resembles jamdani and is considered the cheapest and the quickest stitch. It is occasionally done within parallel rows to fill petals and leaves in a motif.more a technique than a stitch. Khatao. This is used to fill the forms and there is no light or shade effect. Here the taipchi is covered by entwining the thread over it in a regular manner to provide the effect of something like a lever spring and is always done on the right side on the cloth. Bakhia: It is the most common stitch and is often referred to as shadow work. this is not the case. Pashni: Taipchi is worked to outline a motif and then covered with minute vertical satin stitches over about two threads and is used for fine finish on the inside of badla. usually used to make a wheel-like motif . khatava or katava is cutwork or appliqu? . The bolder or knottier stitches include the following: Murri: A very minute satin stitch in which a knot is formed over already outlined taipchi stitches. Pechni: Taipchi is sometime used as a base for working other variations and pechni is one of them. the threads have to be drawn out. Jangira: Chain stitch usually used as outlines in combination with a line of pechni or thick taipchi. (b) Sidhi Bakhia: Satin stitch with criss-crossing of individual threads. In other centres where jaalis are done. The holes are made by manipulation of the needle without cutting or drawing of thread.then the needle is inserted over and over the chain stitch to form a keel). The transparent muslin becomes opaque and provides a beautiful effect of light and shade. This is a difficult stitch and requires very good craftsmanship. This is the simplest chikan stitch and often serves as a basis for further embellishment. Gitti: A combination of buttonhole and long satin stitch. The main flat stitches with their traditional names are: Taipchi: Running stitch worked on the right side of the fabric. called ghaspatti. Phanda: It is a smaller shortened form of murri. It is of two types: (a) Ulta Bakhia: The floats lie on the reverse of the fabric underneath the motif. Jaalis: The jaalis or trellises that are created in chikankari are a unique speciality of this craft. Sometimes taipchi is used to make the bel buti all over the fabric.
The washing is done in a bhatti. Some of the popular motifs are: Kairi (mango motif. In each process a different person is involved.maharaki (close button hole is done around a hole.diagonal stitches are worked several times on a basic stitch to form a grain shape). The designs in chikan are graded and used according to the stitches employed . Today chikan work is not only done with coloured threads but on all kinds of fabrics like silk. who is also usually the seller. crepe. However. The whole cycle can take from one to six months.Madrasi jaali or Bengali jaali ---. Chikan work involves several stages. A large number of men were practising this art of embroidery since nineteenth century. after which the basic pre-embroidery stitching is done so that the correct shape is available to the block-printer to plan the placement of the design. The final responsibility is. The production process of a chikan garment. white cotton fabric like muslin or cambric. however. stitched and extra fabric is cut. phanda (single chain is made. Trade is now predominantly practiced by woman in Lucknow and adjoining villages. keel (first phanda is formed then the needle is inserted over and over the chain stitch to form a keel). Shape of openings and the stitches used distinguish one jaali from another. dhaniya patti (corriander leaf). the part made in the centre is finishedwith tapichi and murri). goes through several processes. then on its top 3-4 similar chains).joda murri (pair of grains). Noor Jehan's personal preferences and desire to replicate the Turkish architectural open-work designs is said to have that led to the introduction of jaalis in chikan embroidery. sadi-maharaki (no hole is made. After completion. The fabric is cut by the tailor into the required garment shape. after which the garment is then starched and ironed. using only white untwisted cotton or some times tussar silk for embroidery. that of the person ordering the manufacture. It is however the stitch employed that is the established nomenclature. and the embroidery of the garment is then begun. chikan embroidery was done with white thread on soft. tanjire (for lining the motif. generally made using taipchi stitch ). Earlier. It was sometimes done on net to produce a kind of lace. the muslin from Dacca. murri (grain motif .where they originated from --. The basic manner in which jaalis are created is by pushing aside wrap and weft threads in a fashion that minute openings are made in the cloth. . kangan (bracelet-made by combination ofkeel. organdie chiffon. The design is printed on the semi-stitched garment with fugitive colours. the cutting is called katub). Fine Art of Chikan Embroidery Originally embroidery was done on white tanjeb.though terms like hathi (elephant) and kairi (mango) are also used to signify the shape of the motif. the article is checked carefully since most defects can be detected at first glance. daraz/katub (two fabrics are overlapped. and tassar.or possibly the place of demand for that particular jaali.murri ka buta and tepchi ka jaal --. pechani (taipchi stitch is covered by entwining the thread over it in a regular manner to provide the effect of a lever spring). assuming it is a kurta. murri andjali stitch). The source of most of the design motifs in chikankari is Mughal. phanda is made and a straight stitch is done to make the base of the stem. and finished with murri). kangira (seam allowance of fabric is folded such that triangles are formed on the wrong side of the fabric). the finer flaws surface only after washing. ghas patti (grass leaves Vshaped line of stitches worked in a graduated series). dhum patti (leaf pattern made of cross-stitch). looks like a chain). gitti (circle is formed with minute hole in centre).
BIBLIOGRAPHY • • • Indian Handicrafts Hand Embroidery by Sheila Paine Wikipedia .
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