The narrow lanes of Old Lucknow have many a fables to tell, for those that may choose to pause and listen. The “adeb” with which the locals speak, fall on one’s ears like honey, and these fables rest in the gaps between their words. The streets of Awadh are lined with the glory of days long gone, but days that still live on in the art, culture, theatre, literature, architecture, textile and culinary magnanimity of this city. Ethnava brings to you the finesse of Awadh in the form of Chikankari, which is synonymous with Lucknow.
This sky blue coloured Chikan Kurta is adorned with some major stitches, unique to the craft of Chikankari: Phanda and Shadow Work. Created on a delicate piece of cloth, the beauty of this piece rests in the handicraft of the embroidery it is adorned with. Every piece, since handcrafted, is unique in itself, and stands out.
The old artisan families of Awadh come from a line of skilled Chikankari artists, and they still practice the trade. The Chikankari patterns follow the typical Awadhi design that can also be found in Henna applied on the delicate palms of the fair maidens of Awadh, as well as on the beautiful ‘raushandan’ built out of stone-carvings on walls. Flowers, creepers, ferns, ‘Boota’, and ‘Kairi’, among other motifs, which are close to the art and architecture of Awadh, also find place in Chikankari embroidery designs. The narrow lanes of old Lakhnavi markets are still laden with beautiful and intricately carved blocks that are used for block printing, upon which the Chikankari is then embroidered. The old city of Lucknow also holds a kaleidoscope of colors in its heart, a rainbow of dyed clothes that hang from thin clotheslines, waiting to be taken down and decorated by experienced hands of Chikankari craftsmen.
“Bakhiya” or “Shadow work”, it is fabled that a Begum, on witnessing a beautiful appliqué dress of a British lady, wanted the same effect in embroidery on her dress, thus, this stitch of Chikan was created in circa 18th century. It is done mostly in making petals of a floral motif or leaves giving a visual effect of a patch. It is one of the most popular stitches, in this stitch the filling is done on the wrong side while the design is bounded by a running stitch on the right side of the fabric to give it a neat look, since the stitch is made on the reverse side of the fabric, resembling the herringbone stitch.
“Phanda” refers to knots that are in the shape of Millets. Phanda is considered to be a more intricate version of stitches. However, the knots are much smaller and far more delicate. Mostly utilized in making the center of the flowers in simple Chikankari design motifs. It is a knot type of a millet shaped stitch.
Fragile threads adorned in delicate designs on exquisite fabrics, Chikankari has its own brand of deliberate and detailed art work. Over the years, Chikankari has evolved, as all forms of arts have. It now flaunts modernist features in its styling. However, like many other art forms, Chikankari has not strayed from its traditionalist embroidery. We, at Ethnava, maintain this unwavering loyalty of the craft to its traditionalism, while also adopting the ever evolving modernity of fashion in the cut, style and make of our product.
Add on to Lucknowi Kurta: The craft of Chikankari stands out in itself, and does not need excessive accessorizing. Worn with the right kind of Dupattas, Scarfs, these kurtas will transform as per the occasion and styling. Pants, Palazzos, Shararas, or just denim jeans, all work well with these pieces. The embroidery around the neck shall suffice, and one can choose to let go heavy necklaces. These Chikan Kurtis work best with oversized oxidized earrings, or pearl studs to complement the white pearl-like stitches. A small matching bracelet or watch would complete the look very well. Sunglasses also look formidable with the all over casual but royal vibe of the piece.
Chikankari Trivia: Into the northern heartlands of India, the heritage of craftsmanship has been passed down for centuries, generation after generation. Among the exquisite flavors of Mughlai and Awadhi food, the intricate carvings and the architectural wonders, the erstwhile Awadh also cradles the origins of Chikankari with pride. A culture already rich in various art forms, the artisans of Awadh are learned in the craft of Chikankari embroidery, and carry it forward to this day. It was introduced by Nur Jehan, the wife of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. The emperor then sponsored the craft and it spread throughout the plains of Awadh.
Chikan Kurti Also Known: Kurta, Kurti, Noori, Top, Tunic, Boho, Dress
Misspelled words: chicken | chicken kurti | chicken lucknow | chicken work dress | chicken embroidery suit | chicken saree online | lucknowi kurties| chicken sari | chicken kadai suits| cikan kari| chicken work| chikan kari
Disclaimer: Our products are hand embroidered by expert artisans and may have slight dissimilarities that are a natural outcome of the human involvement in the process. These minor variations of Stitches/Motifs add to its charm and ensure you have a unique product.