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The love of Mughal rulers for the fine and aesthetic art make them still memorable. They had a great penchant for art and did not believe in ”Art for Art sake”, but “art for life”. As Agra had been the cradle of Mughal dynasty, different forms of art emerged here – paintings, music, dance, stone inlay work, carving, tessellated work, calligraphy, jewellery and stone work, rug making, embroidery work etc.
Imperial seraglio (Royal Harem) was a big center of appreciators of such art and crafts. As the royal ladies were assigned particular Zagirs for their expenditure and they had great imperial privileges, the craftsmen had the best shoppers in the royal ladies. Mughal rulers were more habituated to live in tents outside the royal places, and even at times they used to pitch tents inside the palaces and used to indulge in merriments. They needed large paraphernalia of rugs, canvas and embroidered panels to decorate their dwelling places.
That is how this famous art of Zardozi (embroidery art) developed in the city of the Taj Mahal. Actually this is a Persian word meaning sewing with golden string. So Zardozi is an art in which the work is done on silken fabrics with the help of a needle. In the era of Mughals the craftsmen used to do this needle work with golden or silver thread and used to make these embroidered panels to decorate their places and tents. They also used to decorate the royal attires and ladies gowns and other dresses with the some zardozi work. Even the draperies of the palaces, elephant coverings were decorated with the same technique.
If you look at the museums exhibiting the Mughal fabrics on other items, you can witness this art. As the Mughal dynasty came to full stop, there became a total decline in this art form and only few hundred craftsman were left who were deft handed in doing this job. The heyday of Mughals this number used to exceed more than 10000.
Recently a same family in Agra tried to revive this tradition which was almost dying Mr. Shamshuddin was the pioneer in this field. He attained great heights in this art form and was rewarded by the Indian government for his masterpieces. Some of his masterpieces are like the Taj Mahal with the garden view, dancing peacock, tiger in the jungle etc. The Taj Mahal panel has three dimensional impacts. He has the intellectual property right for his masterpieces. His family is now promoting the art form. Presently these craftsmen do the work with silken thread and needle. First they make the design on the tracing paper and imitate it on the surface of the fabric and then the regions work of needle starts which can take months or sometimes years to finish.
In a nutshell I opine that this is a great art and should be preserved and promoted for the posterities, so that our forthcoming generations can remember this art. It is also the responsibility of the State and central Govt. of India to subsidise this art to give a boost to this art. The Tourists can also help in promoting in art by appreciating this art in the Same Day Agra Tours Packages.