What is Kinkhab?
Chinese Kin means “gold” and Persian khwab- “dreams”. Zari threads used densely
that the ground silk is hardly visible, it is called kinkhab. Three layers of extra weft yarns kimkhab is called tipara kimkhab.
- Kinkhwab was widely popular in the Mughal courts and was considered to
be one of the few luxury textiles in the realm.
- When the British came into power, it was not only used to create a variety
of garments but was also used to line the capes and collars of ensembles
as well as slits in dresses for women, creating an extremely interesting
- Over the years, especially after the British Empire’s rise in India, Kinkhwab was widely circulated among the high ranking British families and eventually ended up being filtered back into Indian ethnic fashion all over again.
New Age Innovations
Currently, in an effort to make this fabric more affordable as well as accessible to the masses, the zari work which was originally done by using threads or wires of flattened gold or silver is now done by using threads made of silk or polyester as they are more affordable substitutes. Floral motifs have also gone out of fashion now.
What Makes it Stand Out
- Tibetans introduced Chinese brocade to Banaras because they wanted craftsmen to create replicas for them as they found the Chinese versions too expensive.
- When the fabric is created with authentic gold or silver wires, it can be a little stiff because of the stiffness of the metal itself.
- Pot-than is another form of brocade which is lighter than Kinkhwab brocade but equally elaborate.
How to Judge the Authenticity of Kinkhab Silk
- Burn Test
- Microscopic Test
- Chemical Test