This Persian art form, brought to India by the Mughals, derives its name from the Persian words Zar meaning gold and Dozi meaning embroidery. It is the art of couching beads and other stones on heavy fabrics using a hooked needle with metal wires twisted around a silk thread.
The period of Mughal emperor Akbar’s reign is believed to be the golden era of Zardozi which flourished amongst the nobles. It was widely appreciated and used for apparel as well as upholstery and drapes. Today, though many more economical forms of the art have been developed, the fashion and garment industry makes extensive use of traditional zardozi to embellish their products. The work is mainly a specialty of Lucknow, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Delhi and Agra.