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The Art of Zardozi

Zardozi embroidery is a magnificent metal embroidery which used to embellish the attire of Indian Emperors, their royal courts, elephants and horses.

This artcraft work involves the making of elaborate designs, using gold and silver threads along with studded pearls and precious stones.

Zardozi comes from Persia and was introduced to India with the Moghals, besides the name is a combination of two Persian words, "Zar" which means gold and "dozi" which means work.

 

Initially , the embroidery was done with pure silver wires and real gold leaves however, today, craftsmen make use of a combination of copper wire, with a golden or silver polish, and a silk thread. 

It was under the patronage of Emperor Akbar during the 17th century that this technique of embroidery came to its zenith.

When the Britishers came to India they used that embroidery to decorate their military garments later many armies from all over the world did the same and nowadays several institutions have their members wearing uniforms with Zardozi such as the French Academy, the Pope garments or many schools and universities with their badges.

State Cap, India, 19th century                

 The making of Zardozi embroidery requires the craftsmen to be sitting cross-legged around the Addaa (the wooden framework) with their tools.

The tools include curved hooks, needles, salmaa pieces (gold wires), sitaaras (metal stars), round-sequins, glass & plastic beads, dabkaa (thread) and kasab (thread).

The second step in the process is to trace out the design on the fabric which is then stretched over the wooden frame and the embroidery work begins.

 

A needle is used to pull out each zardozi element and then, it is integrated into the basic design by pushing the needle into the fabric. 

Zardozi remained popular in the city of Lucknow which is the capital of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and of course in other cities nearby such as Benares.

 

Since its first collection Red Halo decided to update this beautiful traditional artcraft adapting it with the current tastes ensuring to maintain the last embroiderers who kept this knowledge in Varanasi (Benares).

Cushions by Red Halo

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