Indian Ethnic Tradition
Chikan is the delicate and traditional embroidery practiced in Lucknow, an old city in north-eastern India, since the 16th century. Chikan is a unique craft involving delicate and artistic hand embroidery on a variety of textile fabric like muslin, silk, chiffon, georgette, organza, doriya and organdy. Newer fabrics are being tried to bring the ethnic look in contemporary styles.
There are 36 types of stitches used in chikan work. Chikan's light and gossamer like quality makes it very suitable for the hot climate. The light chikan sarees (saris), chikan kurti (tunic), chikan kurta (long tunics) and salwar suits are perfect summer wear.
The finely embroidered muslin came to be closely identified with the Nawabi culture and
became an intrinsic part of it. The Chikankari tradition gradually spread among the common people.
The source of most design motifs in Chikankari is Mughal.
Though it originated as a court craft in the 16th and 17th century, today it is a practiced
tradition and an important fashion activity.