(चिकन की कढ़ाई, चिकनकारी) is a traditional embroidery style from Lucknow, India. The word Chikankari means embroidery (thread or wire), and it is one of Lucknow’s best known textile decoration styles. The market for local chikan is mainly in Chowk, Lucknow.
There are different explanations behind the evolution of the term Chikankari. As per one version, the word Chikankari has been derived from a Persian word Chakin or Chakeen, which means creating delicate patterns on a fabric. According to others, it may be a distorted version of Chikeen or Siquin, a coin valuing Rs 4 for which the work was sold. Yet another explanation ascribes the term to the East Bengal language, in which Chikan meant fine.
Method of Chikankari Embroidery Work
The stitches used in Chikan Kari work of Lucknow are basically of three categories, namely
- Flat Stitches (Subtle stitches that remain close to the fabric)
- Embossed Stitches (they give a grainy appearance)
- Jali Work (Created by thread tension, it gives a delicate net effect)
Indian Chikan work basically consists of a number of processes, namely cutting, stitching, printing, embroidery, washing and finishing. Cutting and stitching are done by the same person. Then, printing is undertaken with wooden blocks dipped in dye. After this, embroidery is done, usually by women. The last step in the Chikankari embroidery work is washing and finishing, which may take from 10 to 12 days and involves bleaching, acid treatment, stiffening and ironing. The most common motif used in Chikan Kari work of Lucknow is that of creepers. Floral motifs, which are used either throughout the garment or in corners, include jasmine, rose, flowering stems, lotus, etc.