Chikan is a traditional embroidery style from Lucknow. India literally translated the word means embroidery. Believed to have been introduced by Nur jehan, mughal empror jahagir’s wife, chikkankari is one of lucknow’s most famous textile decoration styles. Patterns and effects created depend on types of stitches used and the thickness of the threads used in embroidery. Some of the varities of the chikan stitches used include back-stitch, chain stitch and hem stitch and results in an open work pattern, jali or shadow work. Traditionally, the threads used are in the same color as the fabric.
The little white stitches of their individual excellence provide the ornamentation. Its charm lies in its miniature size and evenness. Inverted satin forms are worked on the right side with minute stitches, while the thread accumulates on the wrong side giving an opaque quality to the pattern. Another style of chikan is ‘Murri’ work consisting of spike like stitches very delicately worked. ‘Pandha’ is another type of chikan. There is another type of chikan. There are in all 22 stitches in it. The variations in tankas make up the white chiaroscurro effect chikankari is known for today. Chikan cannot be mass produced. Each piece, whether it is a saree, kurta or even table linen is one kind and cannot be replicated. This muslim art has been adapted to meet the demand of International fashion market.
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