The famous Kashmiri shawl has gained popularity in recent decades. Initially only employed as a piece of clothing to shield oneself from the nippy cold, scarves are now worn to express one's sense of style. The Inda-Persian term "shal," meaning "a finely woven woolen cloth used as a drape," is where the name "shawl" originates from. Pietro Della Valle, an Italian adventurer, noted in 1623 that, although it was usually used as a girdle, it was also draped across shoulders in India.
Although the tradition of wearing shawls in India can be traced back to the Middle Ages, archaeological evidence and literary allusions indicate that it dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization.
Even with a long history and background, these shawls have constantly evolved into modern wardrobe essentials that show off their grandeur and step up your style. It is a sight to behold when women arrive at weddings in winter wearing the most magnificent items in a rainbow of colors and superb needlework. Additionally, they make a wonderful present because they perfectly combine usefulness and style.
Here are the top 5 must-have Kashmiri shawls in your closet this winter!
Pure Pashmina Shawls
The pashmina, which previously represented exclusivity and protection for Kashmiri women, warmly and wonderfully embodies the illustrious history of Kashmiri handicrafts. According to legend, they would cut a Pashmina shawl in half on bad days and sell it for cash to a shawl vendor.
The enchantment of Pashmina, a heritage of the Mughals, peaked when it enchanted European royalty. The great Napolean Bonaparte thought the shawl was suitable for Josephine, his lover, to wear on her shoulders.
The lives of a select few are dedicated to weaving the Kani shawl, a magical enchantment of warmth and color, in the frigid environs of Kashmir's Kanihama village. In the past, Mughal monarchs, Sikh maharajas, and British nobility sought this magnificent shawl. Emperor Akbar was an enthusiastic Kani shawl collector, according to the Ain-i-Akbari.
One of the most time-consuming weaving processes is employed to create these shawls. Even in a single-weft line, many Kanis (small wooden sticks used as spools) or shuttles loaded with vibrantly colored threads are carried about. It may take several months to finish a wrap with a complex pattern and up to 50 kanis of various colors. The designs are written down on paper, or talim, and then sung out by two weavers as they collaborate on a shawl.
Sozni Jamawar Shawls
These lovely Kashmiri shawls derive from the words JAMA, which means "robe," and vara, which means "chest or body," roughly translated as "a robe to cover the body." Jamawar is made of pashm fiber, with identical strands used to weave the brocaded portions.
The majority of today's patterns have floral or paisley accents, which give the wearer a sense of elegance. In the past, the aristocracy used to purchase woven fabric from the yard and use it as a shawl or wrap, making these Kashmiri shawls a valued property of their class. One of its most renowned benefactors was Emperor Akbar.
Kashmiri Tilla Shawls
Pure Cashmere wool from Ladakh, J&K, is used to make the TiIla shawls. Only kings and powerful nobility could once afford to embroider with genuine gold and silver threads. But throughout time, artisans decided to embroider these expensive shawls with metal threads coated in gold to make them more accessible to the general populace.
Shawls embellished with tilla needlework, known locally as ti Ila dozi, are a crucial component of a bride's wedding trousseau.
Kashmiri Papier Mache Pashmina Shawls
The paper-mache pashmina shawls, which often have a white base, are arguably the most attractive variety of Kashmiri shawls. Colorful threads are employed for embroidery over the white base so that heavy strokes adorn the soft base below. The finished product resembles nothing less than a work of living art.
Because both have a similar aesthetic style, the needlework is named after the Papier Mache art.
These Kashmiri shawls are uniquely distinctive from one another but stand out because of their unique character. The perfect time to show off your collection and turn heads with your stylish appeal and refined demeanour is at winter weddings. By then, be sure to stock up on these!