Gold lace maker
Photographer: Shepherd and Robertson
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of two zardozis (gold lace makers) in Delhi taken by Shepherd & Robertson in c. 1863. This image of a man at work with a foot-operated loom is reproduced in 'The People of India', vol IV, (no. 187). The accompanying text states "[the trade] is one peculiar to India, and is probably of great antiquity...The photograph shows a man at work, with his assistant, who may be required occasionally, but who for the present is looking on. The workman is seated on a rude stool, which has a rest for his right hand. The treadles of his simple loom, worked by his feet, are seen below, and the cross pieces above are the heddles and strings which hold his materials for the pattern he is working, and which is effected by skilful manipulation...Thus are woven some of the most wonderful and beautiful fabrics in the world. Tissues of gold and silver, plain and figured, with and without admixture of silk or cotton in flowers and patterns; gold and silver tissue lace of all breadths and patterns, used for trimming scarves, and for bridal dresses; larger scarves of muslin and tissue combined, as those of Benares; and that wonderful cloth of gold called kumkhab or kincob, which is without parallel in the ornamental manufactures of the world. All these are comparatively little known as yet in Europe; but in the various International Exhibitions in England and France, specimens have been exhibited, which have excited alike wonder and admiration." It was said that metal threads from India were less likely to tarnish than similar products from other sources.