¤ Diverse Variety of Indian Embroideries
Traditionally, however, embroidery has been the forte of the
housewife Lets take you through the various loops Indian
embroiders usually work into cloth.
The women of Rajasthan and Gujarat traditionally carry embroidered
torans (frieze), dowry bags, shawls, cholis (blouses) and dupattas as
part of their dowry. This work can be identified by its use of tiny
mirrors with colorful threads that shape floral and figurative
designs. Its shiny brilliance makes it a hot favorite with tourists.
Zari is gold, and zardozi embroidery is the glitteringly ornate,
heavily encrusted gold thread work practiced in Rajasthan, Uttar
Pradesh, Kashmir and Delhi. Of course, the days of using real gold and
silver thread are now history. What you can get, however, is synthetic
or tested zari embroidery. Metal ingots are melted and
pressed through perforated steel sheets, to be converted into wires.
They are then hammered to the required thinness. Plain wire is called
badla, and when wound round a thread, it is called kasav. Smaller
spangles are called sitara, and tiny dots made of badla are called
¤ Gota and Kinari
Gota and Kinari:- Akin to applique, gota work involves placing woven
gold cloth onto other fabric to create different surface textures.
Kinari, or edging, as the word suggests, is the fringed or tasselled
border decoration. This art is predominantly practiced by Muslim
Phulkari:- Embroidered extensively in Haryana and Punjab, the
phulkari shawl is a spectacular piece of clothing. Birds, flowers and
human figures are normally embroidered on red or orange khaddar
(coarse cotton cloth made of handspun yarn). The design is fed into
the cloth from the reverse side using darning needles and one thread
at a time, leaving a long stitch below to form the basic pattern. The
embroidery is usually done with silk or satin thread, in both a
vertical and horizontal pattern so that when the phulkari is finally
ready, the play of light on its shiny surface lends it breathtaking
Bagh:- The bagh is an offshoot of phulkari and almost always follows
a geometric pattern, with green as the basic color. Green is probably
predominant because Muslims have traditionally been doing bagh work.
Although lacking in technical finesse, it makes up for the loss by a
variety of colorful motifs. Simply everything goes into the design
elephants, houses, crops, the sun, the moon, gardens and even kites.
¤ Chamba Rumals
Chamba Rumals:- The red and orange richly embroidered silk scarves of
Chamba are simply beautiful. They often depict scenes from the
Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Raaslila of Radha and Krishna. The
embroidery is done in silk yarn on tussar (silk) or fine cotton. The
ground is usually white or cream, but the embroidery threads (usually
red and orange) are in striking contrast.
Chikankari Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh is the hotbed of white thread
embroidery on white or colored cotton. Intricate and complex, this
work is similar to what is commonly known as shadow work. The beauty
of the embroidery comes through on fine muslin cloth, where you can
see the stitches forming lace-like patterns on the underside.
Bihar and Bengal are known for their simple embroidery called kantha
which is nothing more than patterns traced in a running stitch with
short gaps. Floral, animal and bird motifs embroidered on both cotton
and silk are extremely popular.
Crewel:- Kashmir is known for phirans (woolen kurtas) and namdahs
(woolen rugs) with big floral embroidery in cheerful colours. Crewel
embroidery is the same as chain stitch, is usually done with an awl (a
small pointed tool for making holes) and is worked from underneath the
fabric rather than above.
Banjara:- The embroidery of the lamada gypsy tribe of Andhra Pradesh,
banjara is a mix of applique with mirrors and beadwork. Bright red,
yellow, black and white colored cloth is laid in bands and joined with
a white criss-cross stitch.
Kasuti:- Dharwar (Karnataka) is home to kasuti, a delicate single
thread embroidery done on handloom saris. Motifs consist of temples,
peacocks, elephants, flowering trees and geometric forms spread across