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Indian Embroidery



India’s Gold & Silver embroidery takes one’s mind back to the days of ancient world of pomp and glory. Even in the vedic scriptures reference to gold & silver embroidery is found. Banares and Lucknow in Utter Pradesh and Surat in Gujarat are the big centers of this type of embroidery.
Among the different famous varieties, Lucknow’s "Zardosi" is more popular. Gold & silver usage came into existence in embroidery, during the Mogul period, probably through their rulers. 
Metal wire work of the vedic period also seems to have come from China as history indicates.


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Applique is the stitching of cut out fabric designs to a background fabric to create a decorative effect. The method can be used for anything from a simple motif on a kurta/cushion cover to a fabric picture or a big quilt/saree.


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Most of the Banjaras of Gujarat, Rajasthan & Andhra pradesh, embroider beautiful artifacts using mirrors. Around the mirrors different motifs are embroidered in traditional Indian stitches. Colours used are very bright because of absence of fauna and flora. 
The ‘Motikaam" or bead work, used in Banjara Embroidery, is like American Indian and Mexican bead work. This embroidery form also makes use of buttons, kowrees, coins etc. to enrich the embroidery.


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Chickan embroidery is very attractive and a delicate style, which is enhanced through the use of single colour thread. 
Lucknow in Utter Pradesh in particular is the home of this mild, dignified style of embroidery. It is also known as "shadow work" as the embroidery is done from the back side of the fabric and the shadow forms patterns on the right side.


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The most popular type of embroidery is Free style embroidery i.e., embroideries which are worked over a traced design. Although fashions in embroidery come and go, many basic stitches remain the same. 
This course is like a foundation for beginners as well as a refresher course for those who have lost touch with embroidery. The course aims at enabling one to interpret designs in a flexible way.


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The embroidery of Kashmir is very delicate and mainly has floral patterns. In this type of embroidery the motifs used are of paisley or almond shape, chinar or maple leaf, delicate flowers and leaves. 
This embroidery style is mostly associated with shawls, is extremely delicate and is usually done with single strand of thread


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Traditionally, the name "Kantha" applies to the quilted wraps made up of pieces of old sarees – hand work of the rural women of Bengal. These quilts were held together and decorated with running stitches that now characterize this folk art, and then the simple stitches evolve into intricate designs.


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Kasuti is one of the most exquisite forms of ethnic countered thread embroidery. Starting in North Karnataka in the 7th century A.D, has now spread all over the state and country. 
Traditional Kasuti motifs seem to have been inspired by the objects from daily life. E.g.:- temple towers, temple tank, Tulsi plant holders, Chariots, Birds, Animals etc. 
The Kasuti of Karnataka is very much like Austrian, Hungarian and Spanish embroidery. But the motifs and finishing are different.


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Kamal kadai originates from Andhra Pradesh. It has a three dimensional effect and involves needle weaving stitches. Surface embroidery stitches are used extensively; usage of beads and thicker threads gives the desired 3D effect.


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The embroidery of Kutch flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Sindh and Kutch embroidery are similar to the interlace stitch of Spain and Germany. Some other native stitches and the use of mirrors gives it a totally different appearance. 
In Indian embroidery the richest in design, stitches and usage of bright colour combination is of Gujarat & Rajasthan.


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It is a type of Kasuti from Karnataka. Motifs used are temple flowers, birds, chariots, animals etc. 
Negi - Derived from Kannada word for "weave" is basically a darning stitch. Long and short straight lines are used to produce the woven effect.


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Originally the joining of scraps of fabric to make a patterned quilt was an attempt to make new, yet economical bed coverings from what had been used before. 
Now days it is used in clothing and home furnishing as well. In fact its application is limitless.


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Phulkari means flower craft and originates from Punjab. This art is associated with the ‘JAT’ tribe – the cultivators and nomads. The jats carried their art wherever they went and hence this kind of embroidery is also found in Rajasthan and Gujarat. 
Embroidery in Phulkari is simple, rich and colourful. Threads used here has sheen and are very bright resembling beautiful flower gardens. 
Phulkari is very much like the embroidery of Baluchistan and was brought to India by invading Muslims.


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Quilting styles in India are as diverse as the Religions & Languages spoken in the country. Many regions of India have a distinct style of Quilting practised since many generations. Among them some of the major Quilting styles are :

  • Kanta of West Bengal,
  • Sujani Kanta of Bihar,
  • Razai of Rajasthan,
  • Koudi of Karnataka.