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The Kashmir valley is known for its shawls throughout the world. Kashmir shawls are mainly of three types-wool, pashmina and shahtoosh. They differ on the basis of the fabric used to make them. Simultaneously, all these shawls differ to a great extent in their prices also. The woolen shawls are the most affordable, being within reach of the common man. While, the shahtoosh shawls are the most expensive, usually a one-in-a-lifetime purchase. The pashmina shawls fall in between. Have a look at different types of Kashmiri shawls yourself!
No one can really tell when the first wool shawl was truly invented. But, from recorded history, it started with ancient India, when people in Kashmir started making fine fabric from goat’s wool or fleece, and used them as body wraps. They were later known as Soft Cashmere Wool shawls or Wool Scarves… a soft fabric that provided a luxurious feel that was highly desired by the elite and royalties. The woolen shawls of Kashmir have beautiful embroidery work done on them. The price of the wool shawl depends upon the type of wool used and the fineness of the embroidery. Kashmiri wool, known as raffel, is 100 percent pure and the embroidery done is quite unique to the valley. Wool shawls provide great warmth and style, and are in numerous colors. The design can be either embroidered through needlework or crewel work, or woven in the shawl. The delicacy of workmanship and the amount of embroidery determines the value of the shawl. Wool shawls are really accessories that draw attention to your dress without compromising your comfort. It is always good to have a piece or two if you like in your bag as sometimes having a solid-colored shawl is the only thing needed to perk that tired look. As incredible as it may seem, there is more than one way to wear your soft wool shawl. Owing a traditional wool shawl adds an overvalued investment to any womens wardrobe. So it is imperative to have the pashmina wool shawl, you want to make your outfit classy looking.
Kashmiri Pashmina shawl is one of the most popular shopping items of the state. The shawls are adorned with exquisite embroidery and are extremely soft. The main types of embroidery done on the Pashmina shawls are sozni, papier-mache and aari. Sozni, needlework in a panel on the sides of the shawl, uses abstract designs or stylized paisleys and flowers as motifs. Papier-mache and needlework is done either in broad panels on either side along the breadth of a shawl or covers the entire surface of a shawl. Motifs consist of flowers and leaves outlined in black. Aari is hook embroidery that makes use of flower design for its motifs.
Shahtoosh shawls are made from the hair of the Tibetan antelope (Pantholops Hodgsoni). It is found in the plateau of Tibet and the eastern part of Ladakh, at an altitude of above 5,000 m. Shahtoosh shawls are extremely light, soft and warm. These shawls are awfully expensive, because of the scarcity of the raw material. The shawls may be pure, made from shahtoosh yarn alone, or mixed with pashmina. Within the pure shahtoosh shawls also, there are many qualities. Shahtoosh shawls are rarely dyed and have little embroidery on them.