Zari & Zardozi – Threads of Gold #AtoZChallenge 2017
And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain…………
the familiar words of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” kept playing in my head all day long as I thought of what to write for the last post of this challenge. Can there bebetter way than to end with the glitter of Zari & Zardozi ?
Threads of Gold
Zari or gold thread is a popular embellishment for Indian garments. Brocade or fabric with woven gold thread is an absolute must for every festive and auspicious occasion. You must have noticed the generous use of gold thread in most of my posts.
The thread that is used to weave in designs is basically made out of covering a core yarn out of a flattened metallic strip made from real gold or silver. In the olden days, the yarn was obviously pure silk but in modern times it can be viscose, cotton, polyester or even a multi filament fiber.
[Tweet “Did you know that there are three kinds of Zari or Gold Thread ?”]
Real Zari is made of real gold or real silver alloy. In the olden days the metal was flattened and then wound on silk yarn.
With the discovery of electroplating, this process was replicated using cheaper and more ductile methods like copper. The copper was treated with chemical tints to make it look like real gold. This is known as Imitiation Zari
This is obviously very expensive and very rarely used these days. However, before you fling out your granny’s old zari sari, it would be worth checking out the quality of the zari used – it may well be worth its weight in gold!
The high cost of metals made Zari saris less affordable so the weavers resorted to Metallic Zari which is a man-made yarn also known as M Type Yarn. This is completely lightweight
[Tweet “Did you know that Surat is the world’s largest producer of Zari thread?”]
As you can see, I am not very fond of Zardozi. This very heavy and elaborate work uses different kinds of zari thread. It also uses beads, semi precious stones, sequins , seed pearls and all kinds of decorative stuff .
While Zardozi is mentioned in Vedic literature like the Ramayana and Mahabharata, it reached its peak during the Mughal Era. During that time, Lucknow was renowned for its Zardozi work. And, believe it or not, this form was popular to decorate tent walls, tapestry , wall hangings and even accessories for Royal Elephants and Horses!
The decline of the Mughal era also meant the decline of this art.
But the old tradition of using zari or threads of gold have made a come back in recent times. With widespread use by fashion designers especially in modern wedding attire the glitter is back in India’s textile tradition.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief journey into the fascinating traditions of Indian textiles. If you’ve missed any of them, you could click on the links lined up below. It has been a learning for me too!
My thanks to Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out andthe co-hosts of this year’s challenge.
Alex J. Cavanaugh @ Alex J. Cavanaugh
Jeremy Hawkins @ Hollywood Nuts
Heather M. Gardner @ The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Zalka Csenge Virág @ The Multicolored Diary
John Holton @The Sound of One Hand Typing
J Lenni Dorner @ Blog of J. Lenni Dorner