Zari work is an intricate art of weaving threads made up of fine gold or silver. These threads are further woven into fabrics primarily made up of silk to create intricate patterns. Zari thread is widely used for weaving, but more selectively in embroidery. The dull zari thread is called Kora; and the shinier one is called Chikna. The designs made in zari work are so precise and beautiful that apart from the monetary value of these threads, the overall fabric also gets rich and royal look. Traditionally zari thread was formed and it was used as an embellishment of the royal attire.
However nowadays, modernized version of zari, known as metallic zari; has replaced the traditional gold and silver threads. These metallic zari threads are made by wrapping metallic yarn on cotton thread. This metal embroidery threads; has uniform flexibility, evenness and ductility. Metallic zari has resistance to rust, is durable and light in weight, as compared to the traditional zari thread.
Zari is gold and zardozi embroidery is the glittering and heavily encrusted gold thread work. Zari metallic threads are now available in different colors other than gold and silver; and give the same royal look. Zari threads are shrink resistant, which prevents the final product from losing its shine. Zari is famous for its intricate designs and attractive patterns. This metal coated zari wire is economical than silver threads; and they do not color fast and has a very fine finish. Zari embroidery work is mainly the specialty of Lucknow, Bhopal, Hydrabad, Delhi, Agra, Kashmir, Mumbai, Ajmer and Chennai.
The art of zari has been associated with Royal persona in India for a long time. It is one of the most famous and elaborate techniques in metal embroidery. It was brought to India by Persian migrants between 1700-1100 BC; however, it flourished during the mughal era under the patronage of Emperor Akbar. Under the rule of Aurangzeb, the royal patronage stopped and this led to the decline of crafts. Since the cost was high and raw materials were rare, craftsmen could not carry the embroidery on their own. After receiving independence in the year 1947; Indian government undertook steps to promote zari embroidery.
MAKING OF ZARI
Zari is produced by twisting flattened metallic strip made from gold, silver or metallic polyester yarn. These flattened silver or gold threads are wound on the base yarn that is usually made up of silk. The lustre of these threads is further increased by passing it through a brightener. This improves the aesthetics of the work done. Elegance lies in the intricate zari work. The patterns were inspired by ancient beliefs and rituals, but vary from place to place.
ZARI IN ITS VARIOUS FORMS
Zardozi is a heavy and more elaborate embroidery work which uses a variety of gold threads, beads, seed pearls and gota. Zardozi work is mainly done on fabrics like heavy silk, velvet and satin. It is used to embellish wedding outfits, heavy coats and other products.
Kamdani is light needle work which is done on lighter materials like scarves, caps etc. using flattened wire. Ordinary thread is used and the wire is pressed down to produce satin stitch effect. This effect produced is glittering and it is called hazara butti.
- MINA WORK
Mina work resembles enamel work and makes use of gold threads.
- GOTA WORK
Traditionally, gota ribbons were woven with a warp of flattened gold and silver wire and a weft of silk/ cotton threads and used as a functional trim on garments and textiles.
METHODS OF ZARDOZI EMBROIDERY
The process of doing zardozi, starts with the craftsmen sitting cross-legged around the set-up with all their tools. The tools include curved hooks, needles, sitaraas, round-sequins, glass and plastic beads and Dabka thread. After tracing the design over the cloth, preferably silk, satin, velvet; the fabric is stretched over the wooden frame and the embroidery is then started. The needle is used to pull out each zardozi element and then it is infused into the actual design by pushing the needle into the fabric to create intricate designs.
MAINTENANCE OF ZARI WORK
Zari work is done with silver and gold metal wires and they can easily react with the atmosphere causing the weave to appear dull and dry. To maintain their shine and newness; zari embroidered work garments must be wrapped in soft cotton or muslin cloth. Further, zari work attires should be dry cleaned from time to time.
PRESENT DAY STATUS OF ZARI
After the decline of royal patronage, zari which was once the jewel of the Indian fabric craft, is now restricted to few parts of the country. Currently, zari is not made up of silver or gold but it has polyester or cotton threads wrapped in silver/gold metallic yarn. Zari is used to adorn the traditional attire during festivities. It is sold mainly in urban cities like Lucknow and Chennai.
People aspire to acquire zari work pieces to add value to their social status. Zari work embroidery is mainly used in kurtis, salwars, sarees, lehengas, dupattas, wall hangings etc. zari work adds shimmer and sparkle in our wardrobes and it is favorite of true ethnic lovers. Revive this beautiful hand craft. Shop for an exclusive collection of Dabka, Nakshi and Zari Threads only at The Design Cart.
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