At a Glance :
Region : Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow
Started By : Noorjehan
Type : Embroidery
Influenced By : Embroidery of Turkish
This craft form is a specialty of Uttar Pradesh state's Lucknow city; it is a very elegant and hard work requiring craft embroidery form which created by using the thread of white color. This form of embroidery was started by the Noor Jehan, she was a nice wife of the King Jehangir, and probably this type of embroidery has been influenced by the embroidery of Turkish. The name of this embroidery form Chikankari look like came from the word of Persian such as Chikeen or Chikin and Chikan. Meaing of this is word is like a cloth formed by needle work. The designs which are created by this Chikankari embroidery are also formed by the Noor Jehan, who is creator of Chikankari. This form was established as craft of court. Now days, this type of embroidery is largely used as traditional craft form and it has got commercial position. Chikankari embroidery is very much famous in many essential cities comes in the plains of Indo Gangetic like Varanasi, Delhi, Agra, Gaya and Patna. But still the original city Lucknow is remaining the major place for the Chikankari embroidery.
This embroidery form got much urge while the period of Nawabi. The very nice and detailed embroidery work is very noticeable and nay one can identify it through the Nawabi culture and it had become an essential part of the embroidery. There are plenty of variations in the embroidery work of Chikankari like Shadow work or the Bukhia. This form is very much confusing and difficult because in this the satin fabric used as out line on cloths right side in the small stitches. To make design, they bring together the threads but on the opposite side of the cloth with quality. To create the effect of shadow, they do by using the stitches which covers the back side of that cloth in the style of herringbone. To create the same effect, they make it through cutting the leaves and flowers, with the use of similar fabric and after making it, they put it on cloth's wrong side. the Chikankari work artisans done with lots if efforts and skills, which displays form the fine edges and detailed work which actually force the buyer to think, that how effort fully artisans has made this fabric. They use different types of stitches such as chain stitch; darning stitch and stem stitch etc. these all they use to show the variety. Mostly they use one stitch at one design, but now they try to use the combination stitches of 2 or more stitch, to make well shaped and pattern design. There are very small differences in the stitches which are very basic in the size and shape. Stitches are the important factor in the creation of design, from stitches the size and shape of the design depend and also on the various threads grades which used for the pattern and which contain lace to make jail. Chikan work's nice part is, its work open ground and thread to draw the design. As per the design patterns, the material and stitches gets changed. The stitch type which they largely use is satin stitch, this stitch is very nice and elegant.
The major source of Chikankari embroidery design is Mughal Period. At that time, they were using the motifs in the decoration of the building of the time, such as Fatehpur Sikri building and great monument Taj Mahal. While creating themes of flower, the artisans use different kinds of stitches in the embroidery form of Chikankari.
The quality of Chikankari embroidery is very much glory a light. Using the fabric of Chikankari, during the hot climate is very much beneficial, majorly in the region of northern plain. Wearing the light weighted Chikankari saris is the perfect choice for the women in the summer season.