In the hot and dusty plains of North India, chiks have
traditionally been used to keep out the dust and blinding heat of the hot
summer months keeping the interiors of homes and workplaces cool. This
simultaneously utilitarian and decorative product was used widely during Mughal
times as screens and partitions in the zenana/women's quarters. The use of
chiks was also wide spread during British times but they were mainly of the
rougher variety to be used in verandahs and outer public areas. This traditional
craft has its roots in the districts and towns of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. In
Delhi the chik makers can be found in Kichripur, Govindpuri and Ashram Chowk.
Chiks are made from bamboo splits or rigid stems of sarkanda
grass, held in place by a warp of cotton threads that are finely spaced to
create a blinds and screens which can easily be rolled up but not folded or
Using either Bamboo splits, locally known as tilli or the lower parts of the wild sarkanda grass
stems that are sourced from riversides and swampy regions near Delhi and from
Meerut in Uttar Pradesh; doubled cotton yarn are individually wrapped around
the rigid sarkanda or bamboo splits. To add strength and give a finish the chiks
are edged on all sides with a nivar/woven tape. Most are additionally lined with
cotton fabric to make them opaque and reduce the sunlight that filters through.
Outdoor bamboo chiks that are usually heavier and more sturdy are usually lined with waterproof backing.
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