Besides Chikankari of Lucknow, here are 4 other crafts that originated in the city of Nawabs!
Lucknow continues to be the cynosure of all eyes for its magnificent forms of art and craft that originated centuries ago. The rich history holds legends and tales of grandiosity that is the city. Whether it is dance, music, art or craft, the heritage that has been passed onto our generation is exquisite.
And here we are, bringing to you more reasons to be proud of your roots with these lesser-known crafts that originated in your beloved city! Chikankari of Lucknow is well celebrated but did you know about these other craft forms that are a contribution to the world, by the city of Nawabs?
Showcasing unparalleled lataafat (elegance and fineness) of the hunar of local artisans, Zardozi is an intricate form of craft that travelled here from Persia with the Mughals and flourished under the patronage of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah and other Nawabs. That is also when Lucknow received a GI (geographical indicators) tag from the Indian government.
This embroidery art of encrusting gold thread work adorned today once embellished many royalties. It was modified in the Nawabi style, using pearls, sequins, dabka (a kind of thread) instead of wires, etc. It, thus, gradually became unique to the city.
Today, the glittering Zardozi can be seen on sarees, purses, suits, and so many accessories, making Lucknowites prouder than ever.
Although, different dimensions of pottery have evolved and prospered in various states, Uttar Pradesh's trademark is 'Chinhat Pottery' and you know we're talking about Lucknow when you hear Chinhat, the pottery hub.
The unique style of earthenware introduces colourful figurines to our city and our lives. The art of pottery has been practised since the time of the Mughals and is still a major source of income for a huge number of potters. The aesthetic pottery items are resplendently attractive and adorn various items.
An ancient art form, that recently almost became extinct, Kalai work is yet another embodiment of beauty and culture in Lucknow. It incorporates coating of silver or tin on metallic surfaces so that items like brass and copper become safe.
You must have seen your parents use beautiful katoras with silver intricacies and now you know what kitchenware we're referring to!
Kitchenware with Kalai work is still relevant today but would you believe us if we told you that some utensils were actually found in archaeological excavations? Thus, proving that this is an antique art-form.
The creative wonder that is Zarbuland, Lucknow's pride, was inspired by the Bidri work from Karnataka. More of metallic genius, the process of coating one metal on another is what leads to the strikingly well-crafted end product.
Today, you can spot Zarbuland garnished on kitchenware, hookah bases, trays, mugs, show pieces, and more. This intricate craft-form, that speaks of sophisticated detailing, is popular among tourists.
And here's something you already are well acquainted with. The marvel of Lucknow, Chikankari is the fine embroidery work you see on your Indian wear today. It was introduced around the Mughal era and comprises 36 kinds of stitches. It works on a multitude of fabrics.
The garment gains an extremely classic and graceful look with Chikankari, well, that's Lucknow's specialty — nazaakat. It is a spectacle of the hard work and labour of the artisans and any Chikan apparel would exhibit that in its artistry.
Definition of royalty
Lucknow is popular today for a lot of things but these are the ancient art and craft forms that lead to it being historically significant. Surviving the sands of time, they prove worthy of all your attention. The definition of royalty, these crafts and craftsmen are the vehicles of slow or sustainable fashion today!
So the next time you find yourself in the lanes of Chinhat or you come across Zardozi lehengas while shopping, feel proud of the city's rich heritage and don't forget to take something home.