pashmina jamawar source
Who hasn't heard of Kashmiri shawls? They are world famous for their exquisite softness of material and beauty of design and colour. Of all the types of Kashmiri shawls the most complex, most beautiful and most expensive is the jamawar shawl which is often referred as "woven jewel". Jamawar has always been associated with fine taste, luxury and grandeur and have been passed on as heirlooms in many of India's old families. These shawls were originally worn by noble men in India and Persia. They used to be gifted by rulers to favoured diplomats, or courtiers in gratitude for services, successes, or loyalty. Jamawars woven by Sufis were used for prayers, as table-clothes and spreads during religious festivals.
Jamawar wall hanging, 1820-30. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
jamawar, third quarter of the 19th century, wool, silk. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Brothers Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan wearing antique jamawars from the personal collection of their father, designer Mayur Ali Khan. Scanned photo from Hello! magazine, Indian edition, December 2013
Traditional design of a jamawar consists of an inner border, outer border and large cone patterns at each end. The most popular motif is that of a boteh form. This form, which is mostly known as the paisley now, is an ancient Persian design based upon the tree of life and inspired by the growing shoot of the date palm.
jamawar, 1870 - 1900 Textile Museum of Canada
Most of the jamawars nowadays are machine-made which makes them less costly and so, more people can afford them. Traditional, hand-woven shawls are created too. The most expensive jamawar I've ever seen was around 8 000 dollars. Wow, quite impressive price for a shawl...but on the other hand, when you think of all the time that was spent to weave this piece, of all the craftsmen who put their souls and skills in their work, when you feel the warmth of the Himalayan goat's wool against your shoulders, when you see all the beauty and finesse of that shawl, then you realize that it is worth every cent of those 8 000.