Pashmina is a kind of #cashmere #wool which was first woven in #Kashmir in India. The word ‘pashmina’, although comes from the Persian language with the actual meaning,’soft gold’, but the wool is collected from a breed of goats found in the northern kashmiri regions. These shawls are #hand #woven with fine casehmere fibres.
The woolen shawls made in Kashmir are mentioned in Afghan texts between the 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD. However, the founder of the Pashmina industry is traditionally held to be the 15th century ruler of Kashmir, Zayn-ul-Abidin, who introduced weavers from Central Asia and Other sources consider pashmina crafts were introduced by Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani. In 14th – century Mir Ali Hamadani came to Kashmir along with 700 craftsmen from parts of Persia. when Mir Ali Hamadani, Came to Ladakh,(kashmir) home land of pashmina goats, for the first time in history he found that the Ladakhi goats produced soft wool. He took some wool and made socks and gave them as a gift to king of Kashmir, Sultan Kutabdin. Afterwards Hamadani suggested to the king that they start a shawl weaving industry in Kashmir using this wool. The United Nations specialized agency UNESCO reported in 2014 that Ali Hamadani was one of the principal historical figures who shaped the culture of Kashmir, both architecturally and also through the flourishing of arts and crafts and hence economy in Kashmir. The skills and knowledge that he brought to Kashmir gave rise to an entire industry. (source – wikipedia.org)
What to look when buying a goodpashmina ?
A ‘real’ pashmina should be made in India (Kashmir) . It should also be 100% pashmina or 80% pashmina-20% silk or 70%-30%. Anymore than that compromises the integrity of the shawl.
If its 100% pashmina, it shouldn’t have any sheen at all. Hold it up to the light and turn it a bit on both sides – if there’s a shine, it has silk in it.
Pashmina can also be mixed with less high-grade cashmere or other wool . Probably, the best way to test for this (except for feel) is to use an age old test from the bazaars. You should be able to pull the entire pashmina through an average man’s wedding ring – if you can pull it through – its the absolute, real deal. However, these days, you do find 2 ply, 3 ply and 4 ply shawls. These are genuine Pashmina and have been made thicker for practical reasons (better protection against the cold). An important factor to look for the integrity and the authenticity of the shop from where one is buying the pashmina.
Differentiating between Pashmina and Cashmere Shawls.
One of the big problems is that pashmina has also become a common term to refer to any shawl-like fabric. This is a generalization of the term that detracts from the value of the original and confuses buyers. Cashmere shawls are, of course, very beautiful. but they have their own beauty – which is different from the feel of pashmina. Many people say that cashmere is exactly the same as pashmina. Cashmere and pashmina do come from the same type of goat. Pashmina is so fine that it can only be produced (at every stage) by hand and woven by hand.