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Volume 60 Number 3 and 4, March 2009

Pashmina: The Kashmir Shawl and Beyond

(First Published: March 2009; Second Edition, Revised 2017)

By:  Janet Rizvi with Monisha Ahmed

Price:   Rs 3750 (INR) / $80 (USD)
Binding:   Hardcover  
Specifications:   336 pages, 220 illustrations  
ISBN:   978-93-83243-21-1  
Dimensions:   305 x 241 mm

    The classic Kashmir shawl is among the most exquisite textiles ever woven, the product of consummate skill and artistry applied to one of the world’s most delicate fibres. This authoritative study introduces the Kashmir shawl as a cultural artefact with a known history spanning four centuries. Lavishly illustrated and accessibly written, this book has much to offer textile scholars, and those interested in the history of Kashmir.

    Combining first-rate scholarship with a firm grasp of the practical aspects of shawl manufacture…this addition to the corpus of Kashmir shawl books deserves to become the standard text  — Steven Cohen in Hali, about the first edition.

    New Edition

    This updated edition documents a decade’s developments in the pashmina and cashmere industries. An important new feature is a chart tabulating the evolution of shawl design according to period.

    Janet Rizvi, freelance writer and researcher, was brought up in Scotland and graduated with a Ph.D. in history from Cambridge. Married to an Indian Government officer, she spent many years in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Her book Ladakh, Crossroads of High Asia (3rd edn. 2012) has been continuously in print for nearly 35 years. She is also author of the highly praised Trans-Himalayan Caravans:Merchant Princes and Peasant Traders in Ladakh (Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1999). As well as writing the chapter “Woven Textiles” in The Craftsof Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh (1989), she has contributed articles on the Kashmir shawl to several authoritative reference works.

    Monisha Ahmed is an independent researcher who has been visiting and writing about Ladakh since 1987. Many of those years have been spent among the nomadic herdspeople of Changthang, researching their life with special reference to their textiles and trade in pashmina. Her doctoral research for Oxford developed into the book Living Fabric – Weaving Among the Nomads of Ladakh Himalaya (2002), and received the Textile Society of America’s R.L. Shep award in 2003. Since then she has co-edited Ladakh: Culture at the Crossroads (Marg, 2005), and published articles on textile arts of Ladakh, as well as other parts of the Himalayan world. She has also written on textiles in other areas of India for The Arts and Interiors of Rashtrapati Bhavan – Lutyens and Beyond (2016) and the catalogue Woven Treasures – Textiles from the JasleenDhamija Collection (2016). Formerly Associate Editor of Marg, she is co-founder and Executive Director of the Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation (LAMO), Leh.



    Preface and Acknowledgements


    Introduction “A Felicitous Conjunction”


    Part 1 THE FIBRE

    Chapter 1 Pashm and Other Animal Fibres

                Toosh and the Tibetan Antelope

     Chapter 2 Changra and Changpa: The Goats and Their Herders

    Monisha Ahmed

     Chapter 3 From Changthang to Srinagar: The Pashm Trade

                The Trade in History

                The Contemporary Trade

                Monisha Ahmed


    Part 2 THE TEXTILE

    Chapter 4 Spinners, Weavers, and Needleworkers

    Assembled and Recycled Shawls

    Chapter 5 Design and Designers


    Part 3 THE HISTORY

    Chapter 6 Early History: Conjecture and Speculation

    Chapter 7 The Mughal Period

    Chapter 8 The Iran Connection: The Termeh

    Chapter 9 The Business in the 19th Century

    Shawls in the Punjab


    Part 4 BY LAND AND SEA

    Chapter 10 The Kashmir Shawl in India

    Chapter 11 The Kashmir Shawl in Iran, West Asia, and Russia

    Chapter 12 Shawls in the West



    Chapter 13 Beyond the Shawl: Pashmina Becomes Cashmere

    The West Discovers the Fibre

    Cashmere: A Global Product

    Never out of Fashion: Cashmere Worldwide

    Monisha Ahmed

    Chapter 14 Meanwhile, Back in the Valley


    Appendix I Update 2008–2017

    Appendix II Myths, Misconceptions, and Oddities

    Appendix III Terminology and Glossary

    Appendix IV Styles, Designs and Dates


    Notes and References


    Picture Credits