Zardozi Embroidery

This is an ancient Persian form of embroidery. Also spelt as Jardozi, the Zardozi embroidery has the eminence of being the most popular and elaborated techniques of embroidery. When done of fabrics and dress materials, the imperial metal embroidery imparts a royal look to the attire. Not only on Sherwanis, but the Zardozi embroidery work is created on wall hangings, scabbards, tent walls and impressive trappings of elephants and horses. Zardozi EmbroideryThe embroidery pattern involves intricate patterns in gold and silver thread, bejewelled with pearls and a variety of other precious stones. The elaborated design patterns are meant to enhance the beauty of fabric like silk, velvet and brocade.

The word 'Zardozi' is derived from a combination of Persian words 'Zar' meaning gold and 'Dozi' meaning embroidery. The rich artwork has been inherited from generation to generation. The Zardozi embroidery craft reached its zenith during the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar. But it suffered a decline during the kingship of Aurangzeb. The major cause of this decline was the reduced royal patronage and the incurred expense due to the use of precious metals and stones. But soon after independence, the embroidery form began to breathe once again the major revival of the artwork took place in cities like Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh). Due to the scarcity of precious metals, copper was used with gold and silver to create exclusive patterns of Zardozi embroidery work. Today, the Zardozi embroidery is back in its full fledged form and have become a must on any attire meant for an Indian wedding.

Zardozi embroidery or Zari embroidery requires the use of both the hands. Craftsmen use one hand above the cloth that works the needle while the other hand deftly ties each stitch below the cloth. The exclusive technique not only imparts elegance to the embroidered pattern but also makes it long lasting. The craftsmen who create Zardozi patterns are known as 'Zardoze' (pronounced zar-do-zay). They are so called because while they work they are seated cross-legged around the 'addaa', a special kind of wooden framework. Tools used in the trade include crochet hooks, sitaras (metal stars), round sequins, glass, needles and salmaa pieces which are gold wires twisted in the form of springs. However, the major feature of the Zardozi embroidery is the heady combination of gold and silver thread and kasab (these are either silver and gold-plated silver wires).

The Zarodze or the craftsmen first of all transfer the chosen pattern on the fabric. The transfer of pattern on the fabric is done by using a thick tracing paper on which the design is first created. The thick tracing paper, which has perforations, is placed on the fabric. Later the craftsmen rub the paper with a solution of chalk and oil to transfer the pattern on to the cloth. And then the actual art begins. The hands that create the embroidery patterns possess a lot of patience and accuracy. It is only after days of painstaking labour that the Zardozi embroidery desings come into existence.

Mainly done on fabric like silk, satin and velvet, the Jardozi embroidery is an exquisite work of art. Today, the embroidery is extensively done on wedding Sherwanis to make evenings elegant and to give importance to the occasion that it actually deserves.