Zardozi embroidery is one of the most ancient forms of handicrafts that have been adorning the attires of the royals in India with beautiful metal embroidery for ages! From the medieval times the art of Zardozi has flourished, reaching its zenith under the patronage of Emperor Akbar. It was used to adorn walls of the royal tents, scabbards, wall hangings and the paraphernalia of regal elephants and horses. Zardozi embroidery work involves making elaborate designs, using gold and silver threads. Further adding to the magnificence of the work are the studded pearls and precious stones. Today craftsmen combine gold and silver wire with copper and a silk thread.
One of the most famous masters of Zardozi was Sheikh Shamasuddin from Agra. He inherited the art of Zardozi Embroidery from his father Late habib Buksh. Embroidered by Sheikh Shamsuddin pieces are the heaviest artful embroidery in the world, each weighing more than two hundred pounds. Artist adorned embroidered items with jewels, some – with thousands of gems. One of the most famous artworks – “Chess” – it took the talented master twenty thousand stones and thirty years of hard work.
Back in the 70s, Sheikh of Saudi Arabia offered for it two million eight hundred thousand dollars, but Shamsuddin did not sell the work, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to create anything better than that. Anyway, the work of Shamsuddin is one of the most expensive embroidery in the world.
Indian embroidery master spent 18 years to finalise this artwork , “Good Shepherd”.
Another masterpiece of the great artist is compositions with flowers is quiet large (size 2, 30 m x 1, 68 m). It took 11 years to make this magnificent artwork. The vase is decorated with precious and semi-precious stones weighing a total of 20.000 carats.
Stunning compositions show his virtuosity in natural sceneries, natural motifs like peacock, birds, flowers and many such elements.
Nowadays Zardozi embroidery art is popular in such Indian cities as Farrukhabad, Lucknow, Bhopal and Chennai. In 2013 the Lucknow Zardozi has confirmed its authenticity as the world renowned textile embroidery recorded by Geographical Indication Registry.