Welcome to Amara, the world of Chikankari- The White Magic! Chikankari is subtle embroidery, white on white, in which minute and delicate stitches stand out as textural contrasts, shadows and traceries. Some stitches are worked from the back and some from the front. In a unique, anokhi chikan, the stitches do not appear at the back. The fabric used is fine, and traditionally muslin. Chikan appears to have been derived from the Persian word chikin or chakin, meaning cloth wrought with needlework. It was originally a court craft having been introduced by the Mughal empress Noorjahan. There were chikankaars in the courts of Kolkata, Delhi, Dhaka (Bangladesh), Gaya, Varanasi, Allahabad, Rampur and Bhopal. In Lucknow, the Nawabs of Awadh made the finely embroidered muslins a prescribed requirement of the ceremonial court. A single piece of Chikan relies on many skilled craftsmen, designer, printer, embroiderer, washerman. Traditionally, different artisan families practiced and perfected one type of stitch and it would, therefore, often take between three to four craftsmen to embroiderer a single garment. Bakhiya, herringbone stitch, done on the reverse of the fabric, gives a shadow effect that became a dominant feature of the craft in the 1980s, was crucial in reintroducing finely crafted stitches such as murri, phanda, eyelets and a variety of jaali. This has improved the quality of craftsmanship and the livelihoods of craftspersons. Help us spread the word by liking and sharing our page with your friends!
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