Today, let’s take a look at golden embroidery referred to as Karchobi or Zardozi utilizing spun gold thread. This work dates back to the Rajasthani region of North India and abounds in the north Indian cities of Jaisalmer and Jaipur, known for their artisans and trade. Jaipur, also known as the Pink City, offers a plethora of textiles amongst which includes the Karchobi style incorporating metallic threads of flat stitches into garments and tapestries.
These garments are often used for weddings, costumes, wall hangings, and even curtains. Zari or jar thread is a similar process of twisting cotton or silk for brocading not to be confused with zardozi.
Mirror work is popular in appliqué as well. In India, it is traditionally linked to the women of Gujarat and Rajasthan who carry dowry bags embroidered with mirrors. The wife of Shah Jahan, the same man responsible for the construction of the Taj Mahal, promoted mirror work during her time. It went on to gain popularity around the 17th century. Historians believe it may have originated from Baluchistan, currently part of modern day Pakistan. In Jaisalmer, the saddle of camels and horses are adorned with tiny mirrors. In the city of Barmer, women’s bodices are also noted for this intricate work. Tiny mirrors encircled by threads form patterns in bedspreads, pillowcases, and quilts.
Lastly yet certainly not least, Monday I’ll make suggestions on how to incorporate these exotic pieces into eco-friendly and worldly designs!