The textile and embroidery crafts of Kashmir are well-reputed around the world. Many of these crafts originated during the Mughal rule. Pashmina and Shahtoosh shawls are prime examples of this. Both these textiles are made from specific wool available only in Kashmir. The Pashmina is weaved from wool of Changthang goats and the Shahtoosh from wool of Tibetan antelopes. These shawls are quite expensive and exclusive.

Apart from these, Kashmiri tweed and silk are also internationally famous fabrics. Both these textiles are not entirely made in Kashmir. The raw materials for producing tweed are imported and even many techniques used have been obtained from outside Kashmir. However, the production process is undertaken on a large scale exclusively in Kashmir. On the other hand, for Kashmiri silk the weaving and printing process is largely performed outside Kashmir but Cocoon rearing is solely done in Kashmir.

Kasida, is a prominent embroidery style from Kashmir. The designs are inspired by the natural beauty of the area. Kasida embroidery often incorporates landscape designs, Chinar leaves, and mythological figures. Embroidery of this kind is usually performed on woollen or cotton fabric.

In Kashmir, Pheran or Phiran is the most common traditional outfit for both men and women. It consists of two ankle-length gowns, worn one on top of another. During the season, ladies prefer suits and Burkha, while in the autumn, Pheran is favoured. A Kashmiri woman’s headdress consists of a brightly coloured scarf or Tarang stitched to a suspended cap with a fabric around it that stretches down to the heels. For Hindus, the Tarang is an important part of their wedding attire.

Calico prints from Sambha are extremely popular craft products. Masnads and jamas, which are hand-block printed by artisans of the area have been traditionally used as cool and comfortable floor coverings. The prints — with their attractive floral and geometrical designs and fast colours — have a ready market both within the state and outside it. This craft, which declined in the years immediately after Partition has now been revived.




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