Source: New Cloth Market


Chikankari is an art, which results in the transformation of the plainest cotton and organdie into flowing yards of magic. The word 'Chikan' steps from a Persian word derived from 'Chic', which referred to the 'Jali' work done on marble or wood. It is also famous as 'shadow work' or 'white embroidery work', traditionally practiced in the city of Lucknow and its environs. This review article tried to bring out the presence and importance of Chikankari embroidery in the domestic and international market. The origin & history and developmental initiatives undertaken for Chikankari embroidery are summarized. The various stitches & patterns of Chikankari embroidery utilized in the domestic and international market are discussed. The Chikankari production process flow chart is explained.


Textiles are decorated by various techniques; embroidering, brocading, printing, painting and dyeing, but among all of these techniques, the embroidering is the protagonist. In India, there are many popular embroidery clusters like, 'Chikankari of Lucknow', 'Kantha of Bengal', 'Fulkari of Punjab', 'Kutch Embroidery of Gujarat' & 'Kashida of Kashmir'. Each style of embroidery differentiates itself from the others, based on its own beauty & significant value. The 'Chikankari of Lucknow' is considered to be the most popular amongst these and is recognized worldwide.

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Originally Published in New Cloth Market, Jan-2011

About the authors

B.R.Das is associated with the Department of Textile Technology, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi & S.Hati is associated with Utkal University of Culture, Bhubaneswar, Orissa.