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!
The woolen shawls of Kashmir have beautiful embroidery work done on
them. The price of the woolen shawls 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.
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
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.