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PASHMINA HISTORY

To understand and feel the real importance about pashmina garments and pashmina products first of all it has to be started with its history. But pashmina history has been mentioned differently by different groups in different way in different places. We are including all about pashmina history mentioned by different people in different way in different place.

PASHMINA PASHMINA PRODUCTS

Pashmina, from the Persian word for wool, is popularly known in the West as cashmere wool, from the old spelling of Kashmir. The fine wool comes from the undercoat of the Himalayan mountain goat, called Chyangra (Capra Hircus) which lives in the high Himalayan regions of Nepal and the most remote regions of Tibetan Plateau. For over a thousand years cashmere has been woven into shawls and blankets, prized by royalty and common people alike for its softness, warmth, and long life. Kashmir was for centuries the only place the fiber could be woven into shawls, according to treaties that gave the Maharaja of Kashmir exclusive rights to Tibet's pashmina supply.

While shawls, stoles, mufflers, scarves and blankets woven from pashmina wool have been adored for centuries in the far East, the Western world has been slow to discover pashmina's unique qualities. Today most of the world's pashmina shawls are woven on hand looms in Nepal's Kathmandu valley. And most are woven on a warp of spun silk for increased suppleness and strength. In recent years this silk and pashmina blend has become the adoring of the western fashion world. Extraordinarily soft and light, yet exceptionally warm, be it pure pashmina or silk blended pashmina.

Pashmina wool, also known as cashmere wool world over is the softest, most luxurious and the best wool in the world comes from Himalayan region from a special Himalayan goat Chyangra (Capra Hircus) which lives at the altitude of 12000 feet where temperature drops below 40 degree centigrade. The goat is blessed by nature with a unique very thin short inner coat of hair which is the best insulation in the world and this inner coat of hair is PASHMINA. The Himalayan goat is survived because of this nature gifted hair in the coolest weather. Pashmina fiber i s 15 to 19 microns in diameter where as a human hair is 75 microns in diameter. One Himalayan goat produce s 3 to 8 ounce s of Pashmina per year.

Origin of Pashmina dates back to ancient civilization and has been traced back to the times of Mahabharata. Earlier in olden days pashmina shawls found favor with EMPERORS, KINGS, PRINCES, RULLERS and NOBLES. This precious fabric was known as FIBER FOR KINGS.

Origin of pashmina in Nepal started long back, the mountain people of Nepal had to depend on the fabric they wove for warmth, for easy travel and for survival. In many high mountain areas and semi-tropical jungles, they continued to weave for their perfect protection and comfort wear. The art of wearing wool products by hand has been practiced throughout the country remains popular today as its rugged conditions have not changed. Due to gradual popularity and commercialization of pashmina there are variety of pashmina is being offered in the market like: pashmina shawls, pashmina stoles, pashmina scarves, pashmina sweaters, pashmina mufflers, and variety of other pashmina products. These luxurious pashmina shawls are hand woven by traditional weavers whose families have been in the occupation since ages they inherit this art from their ancestors, and tradition of pashmina weaving continues from one generation to another generation.

Nepalese women have traditionally worn pashmina shawls. Our ancestors have described pashmina as sensual sublimity. It is they who perfected the skill to retrieve pashmina up to 95% purity and the skill as such got passed from generation to generation as a heritage of Nepalese craft.

Pashmina is the most original and authentic fibers. The king of all wools originated in Kashmir hundreds of years ago. The art of Pashmina making in the valley of Kashmir is believed to be as old as 3000 years B.C. In the past, only rich and elite had the privilege of enjoying luxurious fabric. It adorned the court of Caesar and was the pride of French queen, Marie Antoinette. Impressed with the unparalleled looks of Kashmir shawl, Emperor Napoleon presented it to impress Josephine. Until mid-twentieth century, Kashmir's kings had the sole right to purchase all pashmina from Nepal, Tibet and other higher reaches of Himalayas. This resulted in establishment of flourishing cottage industry in Kashmir and has lead to the perfection of art of pashmina making. The making of Kashmir Pashmina is labor intensive and on an average it takes nearly 200 - 250 man-hours to make a single pure plain pashmina shawl without embroidery.

The beautiful vale of Kashmir has always been famed for its craftsmanship. The wearing of tapestry shawls was first introduced into the valley from Turkistan by Zain-Ul-Abdin, the ruler of Kashmir, in the 15th century. Production benefited from the patronage of the Mughal rulers like Akbar and his successors, who wore these shawls, and also because of patronage of local government.

The collapse of the Mughal Empire left many weavers unemployed. The situation however, was saved by the enormous increase in demand from Europe, where the shawls became popular in the latter part of the 18th century.

At the beginning of the 19th century, foreign entrepreneurs started to commission shawls especially for the French market, adapting the designs to suit European taste. Indeed pashmina became the rage in France after Napoleon presented a rare shawl to Empress Josephine. With the progress of the century, the adoption in designs became increasingly complex. The European market for shawls collapsed in 1870 due to a combination of factors such as changing tastes and competition from Paisley shawls. The economic prostration of France when she was defeated by Russia added to the declining European market. The Kashmir weavers either left the valley for Punjab or started producing embroidered shawls for tourists, mainly British officers on furlough in colonized India.

Today Kashmiri shawls are embroidered by professional men. Lately, the American market has opened to Pashmina as Americans discovered its plush, soft texture. Fashion gurus now pronounce it as essential to the wardrobe as the ubiquitous little black dress.

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