Zardozi or Zar-douzi (Persian and Urdu: زَردوزی, Hindi: ज़रदोज़ी) work is a type of embroidery in Iran, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Zardozi embroidery is beautiful metal embroidery, which once used to embellish the attire of the Kings and the royals in India. It was also 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. Initially, the embroidery was done with pure silver wires and real gold leaves. However, today, craftsmen make use of a combination of copper wire, with a golden or silver polish, and a silk thread.
Zardozi is a Persian word that means sewing with gold string. Zar meaning gold and Dozi meaning embroidery. Zardosi attained its summit in the 17th century, under the patronage of Mughal Emperor Akbar. Under the rule of Aurangzeb, the royal patronage stopped and this led to the decline of the craft. Since the cost was high and raw materials quite rare, craftsmen could not carry on with the embroidery on their own.
Zardozi is one of the most important elements of Persian cultural signs and Handicrafts. It is known around the country by names such as zar-douzi (Persian: زردوزی), kam-douzi (Persian: کمدوزی), gol-douzi (Persian: گلدوزی) and kaman-douzi (Persian: کماندوزی). Nowadays it is more popular in Hormozgan, especially in Bandar-e Lenge, Bandar-e Abbas, and Minab.
Persian zardozi is of three kinds:
- Some people completely sew the basic fabric with Bakhie (Persian: بخیه) in order to produce novel patterns and colors, such as the Baloch's Souzan-douzi (Persian: سوزندوزی), Rasht's Qollab-douzi (Persian: قلابدوزی) and Kerman's Pate-douzi (Persian: پَتهدوزی).
- Some sew with less density of work on the original fabric. They cross the strings throughout the woof of the fabric and sew them to each other to form a colorfully patterned lattice, such as sekke-douzi (Persian: سکّهدوزی) or qollab-douzi (Persian: قلابدوزی) in Isfahan.
- A third way is to sew a variety of patterns on the original fabric with gold and silver strings, such as Dah-Yek-Douzi (Persian: دهيکدوزی) (1 of 10 sewing which today is demode), Naqade-douzi (Persian: نقدهدوزی), Tafte-douzi (Persian: تافتهدوزی), Kous-douzi (Persian: خوسدوزی) Zari-douzi (Persian: زردوزی) or Golabatoun-douzi (Persian: گلابتوندوزی).
Zardosi embroidery has been in existence in India from the time of the Rig Veda. It prospered during the Mugal Emperor, Akbar, but later a loss of royal patronage and industrialization led to its decline. Today, it is popular in the Indian cities of Lucknow, Farrukhabad, Chennai and Bhopal. In 2013 the Geographical Indication Registry (GIR) accorded the Geographical Indication (GI) registration to the Lucknow Zardozi – the world renowned textile embroidery from Lucknow. The Zardozi products manufactured in areas in Lucknow and six surrounding districts of Barabanki, Unnao, Sitapur, Rae Bareli, Hardoi and Amethi became a brand and can carry a registered logo to confirm their authenticity.
- گلابتوندوزی، آفتابنيوز، 5 بهمن 1387
- Zardozi in India- Zardozi Embroidery, Zardozi Work, Zardosi Embroidery in India, Indian Zari Embroidery
- "Lucknow zardozi gets GI registration". The Business Standard. April 24, 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2013.