The history of Indian brocades begins in 16th century Varanasi. Renowned for its gossamer- fine cotton muslins for over 2000 years, the Mughal emperors' patronage resulted in a new expertise in weaving silk with gold and silver thread. The motifs were those favoured by the Mughals- floral (especially the paisley), animal or geometric. Also born of Mughal patronage is "zardozi". This flourishing embroidery of "zari" (gold thread) and beads came first to Agra from Central Asia, but the old city refined upon it and created more complex patterns for the courts.

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