Pashmina Wool Fibers
The Pashmina Shawls made with Golden Fibers of Cashmere Goats
Pashmina is another name for Cashmere is a downy undercoat of the Capra Hircus Laniger goats that mainly live in the Trans-Himalayan regions classified as speciality hair fibres which possess special qualities of fineness and lustre, which is used for making finest quality shawls and hijabs.
One warp for each shawl at a time is the usual way. The warp (Tani) is wound straight from a bobbin, which stands on the ground with the aid of a warping stick which ends in a hook through which the thread passes. This passes through a ring attached to the ceiling, to keep the flow smooth. The warp winder goes around, winds the warp around the four pegs stuck into the ground. The finished wrap is attached directly to the loom. A bamboo stick is inserted in the lease. The warps are then sized.
Traditionally, pashmina yarn is wound on a small flange bobbin manually using parotta. The yarn is converted to hanks. The application of saresh is carried out in hank form using saresh as an adhesive to make it suitable to weave. It needs high skill to do warping and leasing of the yarn and is carried out manually using sticks. The process is time-consuming and creates non-uniform tension during weaving operation. This is followed by drawing in operation.
The designs are laid and a writer transforms the designs onto a Talim in form of script or a series of hieroglyphics. It’s woven as Urdu is read (left to right) and the Talim is read as one reads English (right to left). The Talim consists of a set of symbols denoting various numbers of warp ends and a second set denoting the different colours the Kani (bobbin or small individual shuttles for the different colours of the motif) has to go over. The master weaver chants along from the Talim and the weavers play the music on the loom accordingly. The weavers are at the looms for about 8 to 15 days to create a plain full-length Pashmina and the number of days increases with the intricacy of the design if it’s a Kani Pashmina shawl.
With their coloured strips, elaborate floral motifs, the shawls till date remind us of Persian richness. Chand-dar or Moon shawl hosted a medallion in the centre and quarters in the corner just like the ground it would adorn.
- Badams, Panjdar (five-fingered flowers),
- Cheet misri (Egyptian print),
- Kev Posh (root flower),
- Gul-e-noor jehan (a flower liked by Noor Jahan),
- Gulabkan (roses),
- Yumberzal Posh (meadow wild flower),
- Marder (snake like forms),
- Gulkar (only flowers),
- Ragas Chinar (leaves of Chinar),
- Taj (Taj mahal) created the language of the shawls.
William Moorcraft wrote about the advanced and organized system of division of labour in the industry between 1820 and 1823. More the intricacy of the shawl, twelve or even more specialists independently worked on the same shawl.
The weaving of Pashmina shawl is done on a special type of hand loom. Before weaving yarn is sized with a special type of starch/resign. The handloom woven shawl has more commercial value in the market. We need to have especially skilled manpower to convert pashmina fibres to finished shawls. The construction details of woven shawls are:
- Weight= 200 grams, EPI=50—60, PPI=45—56,
- The dimensions of the ladies and gents stole are 2.1 m, 1m, 2.5m, 1.37m and 2.0, 0.8m respectively
- GSM= 50 –70 grams
After weaving the fabric is hand massaged to realizing the stress inserted during spinning and weaving operations. The shawls are produced with intricate and unique designs like chasma bulbul, ribbed weave, Kani shawls. ETC.