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Zardozi - the imperial embroidery art

Zardozi is a beautiful and elaborate embroidery style mainly popular in Iran, India and Pakistan where it has been used for many thousands of years. The word Zardozi is Persian and means 'sewing with gold thread’, but its history goes back to ancient India. In this ancient craft of metal embroidery gold and silver were beaten into fine threads that were used to embroider motifs on rich fabrics such as silk and velvet. The addition of pearls, precious gems and pure gold leaves enhanced the expensive designs even more! You can imagine only royalty and the very, very rich could afford to embellish their attires and costumes of court with priceless and exquisite Zardozi. It was even used to enrich wall hangings, palaquins and the equipment of horses and elephants.

Since the cost of the rare materials and the craft itself was very high, Zardozi was under the patronage of royalty in India for hundreds of years. The craft reached its zenith under the Mughal emperors in the 17th century. Unfortunately, after that period the royal patronage came to a halt due to increases in price for Zardozi materials. Craftsmen and artisans left the courts and moved to other cities. During the 18th and 19th centuries industrialisation came to India and the art of Zardozi declined even more. Today the craft has slowly flourished again under promotion of the Indian government!

Nowadays most Zardozi work is made of a combination of copper wires with a gold or silver polish and silk thread. Or, if you want to spend a lot of money, the craftsmen can still use gold and silver and fantastically elaborate designs. The craftsmen sit in front of a wooden framework that holds the cloth. They will trace the design on the cloth with a needle and start to embroider with different kinds of threads, metal wires, sequins, glass beads and metal stars. You can see from the pictures how much work it is to embroider all this by hand!

Our Zardozi Christmas stars and hearts are designed with the rich history and traditional motifs in mind. The craftsmen and women who made them by hand used the knowledge passed down by their ancestors to create these wonderful decorations and our proud to share their heritage with you. This year you can decorate your Christmas tree with artwork fit for a king or queen!

Zardozi - the imperial embroidery art Zardozi - the imperial embroidery art Zardozi - the imperial embroidery art
  • November 17, 2016
  • Shirin Ressang

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