Chikankari Embroidery from India – As a child growing up in Lucknow in the 1960s, I recall being dragged along to the stores when my mother and aunts shopped. Much to my boredom. Except when we went to the chikankari shops. Even as a child, I found the gossamer tenderness and transparency of the craft fascinating, and I’m not alone in this. In 1903, George Watt described it as “the most artistic and delicate form of the indigenous needlework of India.” Laila Tyabji compares it to a dragonfly wing.
Muslin- The word ‘Muslin’ is believed to derive from Marco Polo’s description of the cotton trade in Mosul, Iraq. Another view is that of fashion historian Susan Greene, who wrote that the name arose in the 18th century from mousse, the French word for “foam.” The word is most likely derived from the port of Machilipatnam, called Masulipatnam earlier, from where muslin was exported to South Asia, the Roman Empire, Ethiopia, and Egypt, where it was famously used to wrap mummies. It was often traded for ivory and rhinoceros horn by Greek and Arab merchants. (more…)