Chikankari of Lucknow

Topics: Lucknow, Mughal Empire, Embroidery Pages: 3 (864 words) Published: May 30, 2011
Lucknow and Chikancraft
Chikan is one of the prides of the city of Nawabs that is Luknow. Although chikankari is an ancient form of white floral embroidery it has become synonym of nazakat and nafasat of the tehzeeb of Lucknow .For centuries this fine white tracery on transparent white fabric has delighted the hearts of the kings and commoners alike. The profession has always been respected that it is one vocation that affluent families have taken up without any perceived loss of societal acceptance. It is a complex and elegant craft that has come down to us, evolving over the years into an aesthetic form of great beauty . Chikankary has been practiced in Lucknow for more than two hundred years but it did not originate here. It flourished in the Mughal courts in the seventeenth centuries. When the Mughal courts disintegrated the artisans scattered across the country.Some of them came and settled in Avadh. They brought their craft with them and paved the way for the artisans of Luknow.Some historians opinion that chikan is a Persian word `Chikin’ or `Chikeen’ kind of embroidered fabric. It is believed that the craft was brought to the Mughal court of Jahangir by his talented consort Nurjahan. There are however other opinions on the origin of Chikankari. According to one historian , there is evidence of embroidered muslin apparel depicted in the famous paintings of Ajanta caves dating back to the fifth century A.D.This could be early trace of the presence of chikan.As per another version chikan can be dated back to king Harsh who is said to have a great fondness for white embroidered muslin garments without any embellish it. Bana a contemporary of king Harsh refers to this skillfully embroidered white muslin. Megasthenes also mentions the use of flowered muslin by Indians.The history of chikankary is richly anecdotal. It is said that one of the wives of a Nawab belonged to Murshidabad in Bengal where chikankary was established and popular at that time. She...
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