Embroideries of Kashmir: A couple of weeks back, I shared a breathtaking video made by the Google Arts & Culture Institute on the Sozni Embroidery from Kashmir. The video gathered a lot of love and likes on Facebook and Instagram.
The valley of Kashmir with its beautiful flora and fauna is resplendent with nature. Therefore the embroideries or textile designs from Kashmir have always been largely inspired by the floral beauty of the valley.
Imagine a home, an airport, or a hotel with just bare floors room after room, no matter how lovely that floor might be. Through the ages, carpets have warmed our homes literally and visually, added to the decor, and provided insulation. In many cultures, they are regarded with enormous esteem, part of prayer ceremonies and religious places. The motifs are replete with history and cultural references, common across geographies and nations. (more…)
The Story of the Kashmir Shawl
I have a very early memory of a mouse-coloured shawl my mother had which could go through a large man’s ring. I loved doing this so much the shawl was damaged, much to my mother’s dismay. I know today that this was the shahtoosh, made from the hair of the Chiru antelope, now rightly banned because the Chiru is endangered.
Fortunately, all other Kashmir shawls have more benign origins and we can continue reading about them, marvel at their workmanship, and snuggle into their luxurious warmth if we are lucky enough to own one. In India, shawls are often treated as part of a coming of age ceremony, so a girl getting married might get her first shawl as a present from her parents (more…)