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What are Pashmina Shawls?

Pashmina or Kashmiri Shawls are produced by two techniques: loom woven or Kani shawls, and the needle embroidered or Sozni shawls. The basic fabric is of the three types – Shah Tush, Pashmina and Raffal.  Shah Tush (King of wool) passes through a ring and is also known as Ring shawl. It comes from a rare Tibetan antelope living at a height of over 14000 ft in the wilds of the Himalayas. This type of shawl is no longer produced as the antelope is now protected and it is illegal to kill them for their ‘wool’ – existing shawls, which were known as ‘Peshmina’, are extremely valuable. Pashmina is known world over as Cashmere wool. It comes from a special goat (Capra...

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The history of pashmina

The history of pashmina goes back centuries to the times of sultans and emperors.  Kashmir shawls were famous in the times of Emperor Ashok (3rd century BC) but 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” or “Peshmina”, or in Persian “Pashm”, is a legacy of that period. At the time of Mughal rule in India, Kashmir overtook the North-West Frontier and Punjab as the centre of shawl making. The Mughal emperor Akbar was greatly impressed by the Kashmiri shawl and the way it was worn, folded in four, captured his imagination. He experimented with various ways of wearing it and found that it...

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Thursday Afternoons

Thursday Afternoons. If you are looking for me, I’m currently ensconced in a sofa, my ears are full of dance studio music – a warm-up polka competing with an Italian operatic aria. There are mums coaxing reading comprehension and maths answers out of school children, as well as the excited chatter of younger children in the toy corner and low-pitched constant background rumble of adult conversation. Children safely escorted into their appropriate class, kisses exchanged. Barring any toilet, cardigan or water requests, the next 45 minutes are mine to spend how I please. I could check email, read internet articles, Pinterest or Facebook. If I was braver I could dash out for a coffee or supermarket sprint. Usually I chat a...

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