Cherished for centuries with a royal heritage of being adorned and admired by the mighty emperors, kings & nobles, Pashmina, today, is reckoned by the fashion mavens all across the globe. The impeccable craftsmanship & dexterity that weave this wonder fabric into a piece of "wearable art" is astounding.
To own a pashmina is to experience royalty. Only a woman can render the worth and excellence that a pashmina shawl earmark.The warmth and the softness that these shawls offer is simply beyond comparison. When you see beauty, you create beauty. It is not astonishing to know that this beautiful thing is the creation of the beautiful valley of Kashmir!
Pashmina is the exclusive art of this paradise on earth. Ever since hundreds of years Kashmir has been producing the finest quality of Pashmina all over.
THE SUFI TOUCH
Kashmir shawls were famous in the times of Emperor Ashok (3rd century BC) but real craft of Pashmina making was brought to Kashmir by a Persian Sufi saint called Mir Syed Ali Hamdani in 13th century. Hamadani is regarded as having brought various crafts and industries from Iran(Persia) into Kashmir. It is said that he brought with him 700 followers, including weavers of carpets and shawls, who taught the craft of pashmina textile and carpet-making to the local Kashmiri population.
THE ROYAL PATRONAGE
The eighth sultan of Kashmir - Sultan Zain-Ul-Abidin (1420-1470 A.D) was the initiator of the shawl industry in Kashmir. Sultan’s rule encouraged the promotion of arts as an organized trade and the “Pashmina” is a legacy of that period.
THE MUGHAL LOVE
The Mughal emperor Akbar was greatly impressed by the Kashmiri shawl and the way it was worn, folded in four, captured his imagination. Akbar got a pair of shawls stitched back to back and it went on to be called as Dhoshala. The royal shawls were richly embellished with precious metals and stones. Incredibly soft, and painstakingly crafted, few samples of these shawls have survived to date and are treated as priceless heirlooms.
THE BRITISH FASCINATION
The greatest boost to the Kashmiri Shawl industry was received during the British Raj. The British took Pashmina shawls back home where they found a willing market. One particular Indian design was taken to Scotland and manufactured in a town called Paisley; the popular Paisley print has its origin in these Kashmiri shawls. Queen Victoria wore, folded diagonally, the square-shaped shawls she received as an annual tribute from the state of Kashmir.
THE FRENCH CONNECTION
During the 18th century, the fame of Kashmiri shawls spread to France too. Napoleon presented a pashmina shawl to his wife (Empress Josephine), she was so pleased with the shawl that she started to campaign for the fashionable Kashmir shawl, which then resulted in its huge demand throughout the century. Pashmina thus became a symbol of social distinction and royalty.
Wearing a Pashmina is a luxury in itself, its prices can even go into lakhs of rupees.They come out in variety of colors and designs depending upon the monetary level. Yes, it is obviously not cheap in price but the beauty of a fine Pashmina shawl is just priceless.