Zardozi is a form of hand embroidery believed to be introduced in India during the medieval times. This art form was further enriched and patronized in the Mughal era (1200 AD to 1700 AD). Zardozi is a specialty of a place called Lucknow in the Northern State of Uttar Pradesh in India. For centuries this region has been known for such exuberant artwork. The art work involves heavy form of embroidery with silver and gold threads or wires to infuse richness on intricate designs done over rich textiles like silk or velvet.
Zardozi is an elaborate embroidery technique. The fabric is stretched on a wooden embroidery frame and the design is transferred to the fabric. The materials used in this form of embroidery vary as per the complexities of the design. Thin twisted metallic wires, sequins, plastic beads, glass beads, metallic beads, stones, pearls etc. are used in addition to threads coated with gold or silver. In the old times the metals used were silver and gold, but nowadays silver or gold plated threads or threads with copper base gilded with gold or silver color are used.
The artisans sit on the floor behind a wooden frame and use very small needles to create breathtaking intricate designs that bring back bygone rich days of medieval Indian art. It takes days to weeks to finish each artwork. Zardozi looks very delicate but is very enduring.
Block Printing is an ancient surviving art in India. The uniqueness of block printing resides in pre-conception of the final art form by the artist prior to the process of printing. Historically rich Indian themes in the designs are greatly inspired by nature. The fabric is printed with meticulously hand carved wooden blocks. Individual blocks are carved for specific designs, one for each color. The colors are prepared by using vegetable, mineral or non-toxic chemical dyes. Each wooden block is dipped into the dye and the art on the fabric is block printed with precision. Use of several colors is not uncommon.
Block printing is also done on fabrics dyed using resist techniques. Clay is mixed with resin and applied to areas that need to be protected from the dye. After dying, the fabric is washed. The dye penetrates the fabric protected by clay-resin mixture, creating a soft cracked, rippled, tonal effect. This fabric is further enhanced with block prints.
Batik is an ancient surviving art in India at least 2000 years old. The uniqueness of batik lies in the fact that the artist needs to conceive the final form of the art before the process of batik begins. The designs usually follow age-old Indian traditions but contemporary designs can also be seen. Batik is a complex process, usually done on cotton or silk fabrics in India. Melted form of wax is generally used to create patterns or designs on the cloth. Wax covered areas on the cloth are impervious to the dyes. For complex designs, this process is repeated several times and when the wax is finally removed the fabric is left with an intricate design with several layers of different colors and patterns. The final product is an enchanting piece of exuberant artwork.
Northwest India deserves a special mention in history. Most of the foreign invasions came through this region as documented over the past thousands of years. A proportion of folk art originating in this region contains reflections of many foreign art influences contributing to its richness.
Niched in this Northwest part of India lies the famous desert land of Rajasthan (place of Kings), an immortal and faithful witness to the heroic tales of it's great Kings, who gave their lives to defend their motherland from invaders. Besides their heroic tales, the artists in Rajasthan took time to develop fascinating artworks that decorated the famous palaces and local homes.
The artists craft individual items with great care and perfection that may need few weeks to months in completion. The mastery of their age-old artistic skills is clearly visible in the concept, depth and attention to minute details in each piece of work. Use of vibrant natural colors adds life to the paintings. One of the famous art works in this region includes the famous paintings on fabrics.
These paintings are famous for their intricate designs and colors.