The inspiration for the creation of the arts and crafts of Kashmir is the
paradisiacal land of Kashmir in its physical and metaphysical meaning and
expression. The artistic genius of the Kashmiri people as expressed in the
fields of literature, poetry, literary images, shawl-making, embroidery,
embroidered floor-coverings, wood-work and wood-carving, papier-mâché and
The arts and crafts of Kashmir testify to the Kashmiri artist
being a true lover of nature. Nature is reflected in the polished mirror of the
designs and decorative patterns of ornamentation of the Kashmiri arts. Poetry in
form to reach the realm of thought, idea, dream and vision that shows joy in
this world as the world is joyful in Him. This can be understood through the
analogy of the traditional carpet being the earthly reflection of the cosmos
itself. Therefore it follows that it is an indication, suggestion, or expression
of the mirror image of the manifestation in worldly, material, mortal and
whatsoever possible in non-spiritual world or the secular world the space,
universe or the heavens above, which are divine and sacred.
Many intellectuals call Kashmir a heaven on earth. It's called so not only
for its scenic beauty but for delicate arts and crafts too. The diverse articles
ranging from woolen textiles of fleecy soft texture of matchless excellence in
weaving, hand-woven carpets of finest warp and weft, to the exquisite designs
worked on papier-mâché, wood work, silverware, etc. are the products of unique
Papier-mâché the special craft of Kashmir is better known to this part of
world alone. Kashmiri artists create these masterpieces in all the traditional
as well as modern motifs to the height of perfection and intricate designing.
These gold lined boxes come in all pattern and shapes that hold the treasure of
Kashmir Papier-Mache Items
Pulp the basic ingredient of papier-mâché is prepared in a complex manner and
molded in all forms - boxes, lamps, vases, holders, balls, bangles, frames and
thousands of other possibilities.
Papier-mâché involves ornamentation in color, gold and silver over smoothened
surfaces built up of paper pulp or sometimes wood and card board. The designs
used in Papier-mâché are very intricate and their application requires a great
deal of artistic skill and accuracy.
A unique position among Kashmir textiles is held by the celebrated shawl
known as Pashimina shawl. The fabric of this shawl is extracted from the smooth
fleecy wool of Kel goat by the handloom artisans who are usually womenfolk.
Equally popular is the celebrated 'ring shawl'. The fabric of this particular
shawl is so sleek and smooth that it can pass effortlessly through a ring and
hence the name. Rare and different from the others is the Jamavar shawl. In this
case, the threads of the warp and weft are dyed before weaving. The peculiar
charm of this famous shawl is derived from the symphony of color schemes
depicting architectural and mythological figures interwoven with landscape
Kashmiri Sozni Shawl
A high-class shawl is expected to have the designs worked evenly on both sides.
The price of a pashmina shawl may range anywhere from a few hundred rupees to
thousands of rupees, depending upon the craftsmanship and the time factor
involved in its creation.
The carpets from Kashmir are known for the intricate and delicate handwork
done on them. Besides, they are world famous for two things - firstly, they are
hand made and secondly, they are always knotted, never tufted. The knotting of
the carpet is one of the most important aspects that determine its durability
and value, in addition to its design. The more knots per square inch, the
greater its value and durability. The colours of Kashmiri carpets are subtler
than muted; the yarn (either: silk, wool or a combination of both) is dyed using
The gabba- a unique type of floor covering, prepared from old woolens in a
variety of forms and designs- come next to the namda industry, and its
manufacture is localized at Anantnag. Baramulla specializes in printed gabbas.
The chain-stitch rung, which resembles the gabba carpet, is also manufactured
economically, as the base is Hessian cloth and coarse wool, over which floral
and other motifs are worked. The flora and fauna of different lands-Kashmir,
Central Asia and Iran are depicted on the carpets of Kashmir in a harmony
symbolic of traditional synthesis of Kashmir's diverse cults and cultures.
The embroidery of Kashmir, called kasida, is world-famous. Varied, rich in
colour, elaborate in detail and exquisite in execution, the kasida patterns are
freely drawn by the naqqash mostly from memory. The finest kasida work,
particularly embroidered on shawls or saris, has no 'wrong' side.
The chain-stitch is also used for the making of a large number of miscellaneous
articles such as bags, screens and cushion covers.