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zari

zari (India) ancient metallic-thread weaving technique in India used for embellishment on textiles, leather footwear, or jewelry; derived from Persian zar- gold. Historically, zari weaving was done with threads of pure silver and gold. Today, weavers use silk or cotton thread that has been wrapped or plated in fine gauge foil of silver or gold. Plating the thread is very labor-intensive and requires drawing, winding, and twisting metal wire. To this day, all zari is fabricated from start to finish in one location to ensure the industry remains self-sufficient. Because gold zari was thought to adorn the gods in the Vedic age, craftsmen practiced it as an honored tradition despite little financial gain. While historical documents mention zari as early as 6th century BCE in India, the craft reached its zenith in India in the 17th century under the fifth Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan I. Today, zari technique remains a practice mastered by few. dosa zari cloth comes in silver or gold and is handwoven on pit looms in Kolkata. (2003)