The Most Iconic Styles of Authentic Kashmiri Shawls

The Most Iconic Styles of Authentic Kashmiri Shawls

Forever iconic, the fabled Kashmiri shawl is one of the rarest and most exquisite works of handwoven art in the world. At the heart of each intricately designed masterpiece resides a beautiful, vibrant and original story; impeccably crafted to honor the sacred legacy, artistry, and soul of the Kashmir Valley, India. 

How are Kashmir Shawls Made? The Process Explained

A universal symbol of style, elegance, and affluence, authentic Kashmiri shawls are handmade by highly-skilled local artisans—using ancient spinning, weaving, and embroidery techniques derived from 15th century Persia. 

Praised for their exceptionally-warm feel and luxe, illustrious appeal, the plush textile used to create this variety of shawl is most often made from pashmina, an ultra-refined variant of handspun wool sourced from the Changthangi goat; a rare breed of Himalayan goat with wool five times finer than human hair. However, Kashmiri shawls can also be made from cashmere (Ladakhi goat wool) or raffal (Merino wool). 

Truly rich, the deep cultural tradition of making such intricate and imaginative shawls has become a globally recognized art form—exalted for its extensive variety of one-of-a-kind signature styles. 

How Many Types of Kashmiri Shawls Exist?

Essentially, there are three primary types of Kashmiri shawl; kaani shawls, plain woven shawl and embroidered sozni shawls. The design of the kaani shawl is woven with bobbins or twigs (which are called kaani in the local language) on a double twilled loom. This particular technique was born and cultivated in the Kashmiri town of Kanihama, and closely resembles the weaving technique of elaborate tapestries.

The sozni shawl design, however, is hand embroidered with a needle and often made with small stem and satin stitching. Sozni shawls also include a vibrant and countless array of original hand embroidered styles, which differ from artisan to artisan. Each is named after traditional Kashmiri words used to describe the various handweaving and embroidery techniques developed throughout the region. 

Andraab and the Ancient Kashmiri Art of Hand Embroidery 

At Andraab, we have five distinctive styles in our signature collection of embroidered shawls. Each delicate work of art takes months (sometimes years) to make—so no two shawls are alike. Our team of master Kashmiri weavers and embroiderers work carefully to ensure that every shawl evokes elegance, quality, craftsmanship, and the spirit of Kashmir. 

As a small company working to preserve the rich heritage of the region, it’s a blessing to belong to a family of local artisans who, generation after generation, continue to inspire our mission to honor the artful legacy of the rare and ethereal Kashmiri shawl.

Authentic Kashmiri Shawls: 5 Unique Embroidery Styles 

One of a kind embroidery styles—handmade in Kashmir by Andraab.

1. Bale

Bale or Baledaar is the original name for the straight line of colorful embroidery on all four sides of a shawl (usually measuring about 2-3 cms). The Bale was usually a highlight on the edges. Traditionally… [read more]

2. Boteh

Boteh is traditionally a small embroidered motif inspired by nature in the form of paisleys, florals, cypress, and cedar trees. This captivating and expressive style is used extensively to craft both kaani shawls and embroidered sozni shawls. Boteh shawls can also have… [read more]

3. Jamawar

The Jamawar; a modern interpretation of Jamevar/Jamavar, is an exquisitely intricate embroidery style that covers every square millimeter of a pashmina with different designs, traditional or contemporary. Each breathtaking Jamawar can take a master embroiderer from 1 to 4 years to produce, depending on the design, intricacy, and... [read more]

4. Paisley

Paisley refers to the almond-like, curved teardrop shapes inspired by ancient Persian designs. These embroideries on Kashmiri shawls found their way to England and Scotland in the 19th century, where they were highly prized and then… [read more]

5. Palla

Palla is the traditional Kashmiri name for a line length of embroidery that runs across the width of the shawl. This style of embroidery came into existence when western taste started to influence the shawl making industry, leading to a preference for less elaborate embroidery. Initially, Pallas had paisley embroideries. Today, they can have [read more] 

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