Close-up shoot of zardozi (zardouzi) embroidery
Vicereine Lady Curzon's peacock dress, with a skirt made of Indian zardozi needlework featuring green beetle wings and gold and silver thread, was a sensation at her coronation, making the front page of the Chicago Tribune on 27 September 1903.

Zardozi, or zar-douzi or zarduzi (from Classical Persian زَردوزی zardōzī, literally "gold embroidery"; Modern Persian: زَردوزی, romanizedzarduzi; Hindi: ज़रदोज़ी, Tajik: зардӯзӣ, Urdu: زردوزی, Uzbek: zardoʻzi), is an Iranian, Indian-subcontinent and Central Asian embroidery type. Zardozi comes from two Persian words: zar or zarin meaning 'gold', and dozi meaning 'sewing'.[1] Zardozi is a type of heavy and elaborate metal embroidery on a silk, satin, or velvet fabric base.[2] Zardozi embroidery uses a wide variety of gold and silver embellishments such as: flat metal wires, spangles, coiled wires, heavy wires, and twisted wires.[3] Designs are often created using gold and silver threads and can incorporate pearls, beads, and precious stones.[4] It is used as decoration for a wide range of applications, including clothes, household textiles, and animal trappings.[2] Historically, it was used to adorn the walls of royal tents, scabbards, wall hangings and the paraphernalia of regal elephants and horses.[5]

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 silk thread.


Zardozi is an important handicraft in Persian culture. 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.[6]

Persian zardozi is of three kinds:

Indian subcontinent

Drawing of Delhi gold embroiderers at work in 1870, by John Lockwood Kipling

As an embroidery, Zardozi was first used in the 14th century.[7] It prospered during the 17th century during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar, but later a loss of royal patronage and industrialization led to its decline. The craft began to experience a resurgence in popularity following India's independence in 1947.[1][5]

Today, zardozi is popular in the Indian cities of Lucknow, Hyderabad, Farrukhabad, Chennai and Bhopal.[8] In 2013, the Geographical Indication Registry (GIR) accorded Geographical Indication (GI) registration to the Lucknow zardozi. With GI status, zardozi artisans, distributors, and retailers in Lucknow and the six surrounding districts of Barabanki, Unnao, Sitapur, Rae Bareli, Hardoi and Amethi can become authorized users of the "Lucknow Zardozi" brand and carry a unique mark of authenticity.[9]

Zardozi is a popular embroidery choice across Pakistan especially for wedding or formal wear, with artisans and couture houses alike producing clothing with zardozi work

Central Asia

Zardozi has also been present in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan since ancient times.[10]


  1. ^ a b Pathak, Nilima (18 July 2018). "Zardozi workers struggle to make ends meet". Gulf News. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b Naik, Shailaja D. (1996). Traditional embroideries of India. A.P.H. Pub. Corp. p. 144. ISBN 8170247314.
  3. ^ Raheja, Radhana; Bhagat, Simmi (19 December 2022). "HISTORIC INDIAN TEXTILES OF GOLD AND SILVER". ShodhKosh: Journal of Visual and Performing Arts. 3 (2). doi:10.29121/shodhkosh.v3.i2.2022.149. ISSN 2582-7472.
  4. ^ "Indian Zari Embroidery". TRC Needles. Textile Research Center. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b Bhattacharyya, Ranadeep (1 August 2017). "Silver and Gold- Story of Zardozi". Heritage India Magazine. Archived from the original on 8 April 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  6. ^ a b "گلابتون دوزی" [Scarabs] (in Persian). 5 February 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  7. ^ Raheja, Radhana; Bhagat, Simmi (19 December 2022). "HISTORIC INDIAN TEXTILES OF GOLD AND SILVER". ShodhKosh: Journal of Visual and Performing Arts. 3 (2). doi:10.29121/shodhkosh.v3.i2.2022.149. ISSN 2582-7472.
  8. ^ "Zardozi". Cultural India. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
  9. ^ Rawat, Virendra Singh (24 April 2013). "Lucknow zardozi gets GI registration". The Business Standard. New Delhi/Lucknow. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  10. ^ "À l'Institut du monde arabe, à Paris, l'Ouzbékistan et ses chemins brodés d'or" (in French). 2022.