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Resham work refers to elaborate embroidered designs that characterize many of the most beautiful Indian saris. It is distinguished by the use of a fine, coloured silk thread, either to weave intricate borders and pallus, or to trail beautiful motifs across the cloth- representative of India’s rich heritage.
The influence of the Mughal Empire is expressed through the transformation that many of the common resham motifs underwent. The bold and bright Hindu depictions of lions, elephants, swans, peacocks and lotuses were replaced by smaller, more stylized representations. Geometrical patterns were used to accentuate the borders and pallus, while checks, straight or diagonal lines, and mothra (a double line containing a simple or running pattern inside) bedecked the fabric of the sari.
Known for its softness and glossy smooth texture, resham work has found its niche in most of the sari centers of India. Indeed, its adaptability across fabrics has helped maintain its status as a garment fit for royalty.