Chikankari is a traditional white embroidery which dates back to Mughal Era when Mehrunissa (Nur Jahan) brought it along with her from Persia, her native place.
Many people question that when did Nur Jahan go to Persia? Well Nur Jahan was born in Afghanistan to a Persian nobility family. Her forefathers worked in the ancient Persian Courts. That’s where she is rumoured to have learned the technique.
[Image Source-https://aaishaaaqer.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/img80a.jpg, 2017]
This art evolved in the mughal courts under the patronage of Jahangir and Mehrunissa. The queen was a talented embroiderer herself and she so pleased the king with this ethereal, white floral embroidery that it was soon given recognition and royal patronage.
The word chikan, is supposed to be derived from the Persian Word ‘chikin’ or ‘chikeen’ which means embroidered fabric. This embroidery work was done on the finest Daccai malmals or muslin garments which were well suited for the hot, tepid climate of Delhi. Some very fine Mughal miniatures depict Emperor Jahangir in white flowing muslin garments which many believe to be chikan.
[Image Source-http://www.almaschikan.com/image/cache/catalog/fine-chikan-work-875×625.jpg, 2017]
Muse, T. and Muse, T. (2017). Crafts of India: Chikankari – The Fine White Tracery. [online] IndianRoots Daily (Blog). Available at: http://daily.indianroots.com/crafts-of-india-chikankari-the-fine-white-tracery/ [Accessed 3 Feb. 2017].
Pedia, T. (2017). All About Luckmow Chikankari Embroidery Work | Utsavpedia. [online] Utsavpedia. Available at: http://www.utsavpedia.com/motifs-embroideries/lucknow-chikan-craft/ [Accessed 2 Feb. 2017].