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Asian Textiles: Cashmere Shawls

"Asian Textiles: Cashmere Shawls"

Toyokan Room 13  October 2, 2018 (Tue) - December 16, 2018 (Sun)

Cashmere Shawl, Patchwork with paisley design on white ground (dateil), Kashmir, India, 18th–19th century

The Kashmir goat, which lives in the Kashmir region of northeastern India, has wool of lustrous soft hairs, Cashmere shawls feature this high-quality wool dyed in various colors and with detailed designs achieved through hand-woven brocade and embroidery. From the 16th to the 18th century, these shawls were produced in great quantity. They were immensely popular particularly in Europe, so many shawls were exported there through the East India Company. The shawls were also used to make dress and gowns. In the portraits of European aristocrats from this time, women are frequently depicted wearing a cashmere shawl, an item that was highly sought after. After the Industrial Revolution, a woolen fabric was produced in Paisley, Scotland, in imitation of the cashmere shawl. It was adored throughout Europe to the extent that the traditional kalka motif used in India textiles was named "paisley."

Current exhibit includes:
Sash, Brocade with flowering plant arabesque band design on gold ground, Iran, Safavid dynasty, 17th century (Private collection)
Cashmere Shawl, Patchwork with paisley design on white ground, Kashmir, India, 18th–19th century
Cashmere Shawl, Paisley design on red ground, Kashmir, India, 19th century
Rug, Flower design, Iran, Safavid dynasty, 17th century (Private collection)
Coat, Embroidered floral arabesque design on brown-gold satin ground, Jaipur, India, 19th century