Rajasthan is famous for its exquisite artwork and vibrant culture. Embroidery is one of the main artwork and speciality of Rajasthani artists. Embroidery is the handicraft of making decorative designs on fabric or other materials with different and special types of threads and needles. Embroidery may include some other materials like beads, mirror, and metal pieces to incorporate better designs. Although, today machine embroidery has made embroidery an easy task, but the machine embroidery is still not able to match the elegance and perfection of handmade embroidery by the expert artists of Rajasthan. The women of Rajasthan are experts in this field and make any article look totally different with their excellent embroidery work. Some of the women garments which have embroidery work on them are kaanchlis, ghaghras and odhnis. The masculine garments like angarakha, achkan and jama display very fine work of embroidery done with detailed hand work. While the domestic embroidery is meant to be the field of women, the Rajasthani men are involved in other forms of embroidery like zardosi and danka. There are various forms of embroidery found in Rajasthani culture. In many parts of Rajasthan women live in very conservative communities leading a restricted life and are never allowed to learn to read and write. Due to this reason, embroidery becomes a medium of expression of their artistic temperament allowing them to make living through their art.


The history of embroidery takes us back to 3000 B.C., where man started doing embroidery by the time he started wearing clothes. You can say that it is one of the first art forms known to the human civilization. The ancient paintings and artworks also depict some embroidery works which suggest that the art of embroidery is associated with the humans from the ancient ages. The paintings and record from medieval rulers of India prove that embroidery was an integral part of the royal life style. The painting of royal personalities depicts them in elegant dresses full of precious embroidery work. Mainly the Mughals and the Rajput rulers were very fond of embroidery. Their dresses were prepared by the finest embroidery artists of the state. There are many religious uses and beliefs related to the embroidery work. According to old Hindu beliefs, the shisha embroidery hanged at the doors of the houses and temples keeps the evil away.


Different types of processes are used to carry out different forms of embroidery works. Mainly embroidery involves thread and needles, but with different types of designs and styles further elements are incorporated in the embroidery work. The different types of embroidery are Danke ka kaam, mukke ka kaam, zardosi, shisha embroidery, pakko Bharat, mocha surf Bharat, metal embroidery and many others. The basic elements of Rajasthani embroidery is the creativity and imaginative skills of the embroidery artist. The artist first chooses the material on which embroidery is to be done. The next step is to draw a design on that fabric. Then according to the style of the embroidery selected, he picks the needles and the thread to be used for embroidery work. When the outlining of the design is done with thread, then the other elements are added to the designs using different materials like colourful beads, small pieces of mirrors, shiny metal parts. According to the design, the detailing of the embroidery is done by the use of thinner needles and threads. The metal embroidery is mainly done to make ornaments. In this type of embroidery, the metal pieces are attached to the clothe surface with the help of embroidery so extravagantly that it becomes impossible to differentiate the ground surface of the cloth. These ornaments are generally made for the royal personalities. The gold and silver threads are used in zardozi to prepare special handicrafts. The gold and silver pieces are passed through special dies in order to obtain fine threads for embroidery. The time taken to complete an embroidery work depends upon the design and the material of the work. It may take several days to accomplish a well detailed embroidery work.

Although the introduction of machines has made embroidery an easier task but to get the real taste of traditional embroidery, there is no alternative to hand work of the artists of Rajasthan. The articles with heavy embroidery are the main part of export of Rajasthan. Jaisalmer is the centre for embroidery handicraft in Rajasthan. The handmade handicrafts by Rajasthani artists are recognised worldwide and are in great demand. Rajasthani artists portray the Indian tradition of art and culture perfectly in their artwork of embroidery. When you leave Rajasthan with one of the artistic embroidery work of the Rajasthani artists, you hold a proof of an artistic legacy and knowledge of Rajasthan which is passed from one generation to another from last several centuries.

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