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2996

Antique Kashmiri Shawl.Hand Woven Wool Shawl
Circa 1870

Size 73" x 73"
Size 186 x 186cm

Top Image is Detail

Excerpt from Heritage of Kashmir


Antique Kashmiri Shawls


 
 

The products of shawl-looms of Cashmere have given it a world-wide reputation. The wool of which these shawls are made is furnished by several animals, the wild goat of the provinces of Lassa and Ladakh, affording the best. It is simply the inner coat that is used. The first step is to carefully separate this from the hair. This is then spun by the women, a work which engages a proportion of the women of Cashmere. The skins are next dyed; and in this art, the Cashmerians display much taste and skill in producing beautiful and brilliant tints. The weavers are always men or boys, and were generally found from twenty to fifty crowded in a small room, three or four being engaged at each loom. The warp is extended in the loom as though the wool were to be introduced by a shuttle; but instead of a shuttle, several hundred slim, wooden needles, each wound with a small amount of thread, are employed. With a sort of Hieroglyphic pattern before his eye, indicating the color of the thread to be used, the weaver passes these in rapid succession, according to the color required, through one or more threads of the warp.

Many of the shawls are woven in separate pieces and then carefully joined, this being so skillfully done that the seams are scarcely discernable. The time required for weaving a shawl varies, of course, with the pattern. and the fineness of the threads used: usually three or four weavers are engaged upon a single shawl from three months to two years. There are rarer patterns, of course, that embody infinitely more labor than this. The price of the more common shawls varies from 400 to 1600 rupies ($200 to $800).

The City of Cashmere, Chapter 15 of the book, "Remains of Lost Empires", circa 1875, by P.V.N. Myers, page 409

 

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