Badla A starry art

Badla A starry art


Some call it Badla, some Mukesh, and others, Kamdani. Whatever one may call this craft, its beauty and exquisiteness is appreciated by one and all. This is one of the many arts that the craftsmen of the Mughal era had created to embellish clothes that adorned the royals.

Crossing the walls and courtyards of the royal palaces, this art is now accessible to all, without losing its intense appeal.

It is a simple work of art involving a needle and flat metal wire called Mukesh or Badla. The wire is used to make small dots that are neither too big nor too small, all over the fabric, which is preferably chiffon, georgette or cotton. Once the art work is done, the fabric gains a starry and shimmery look, ready to be used as a saree or a dupatta. Usually, this work is done on white fabric which is later dyed.  The design stands out prominently when the background is dark.

The simple technique of this craft involves passing of the wire through a special two-eyed needle and making dots using cross-stitch. The wire is then cut, locked and hammered to give the design a smooth finish. It may be done in scattered or clustered form to vary the design. Big floral motifs made of small intricate dots of Mukesh are done on sarees meant for formal wear. Such designs give a sequined look to the outfit and the effort that goes behind the look is enormous as each dot is made individually. Today, new designs are created to lend this ancient art a modern appeal.

In the days of the Mughal rule, pure silver or gold wires were predominantly used for this art, but since silver often turned black, spoiling the look of the fabric, artisans these days use synthetic wires in colours of silver, gold, bronze and copper.

This art is said to have originated in Uttar Pradesh, from where it was taken up by the craftsmen of other regions.

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