Pashmina–A gift of kashmiri Goats
Srinagar, Kashmiri Pashmina refers to the Fabric woven out of Pashm wool by Artisans from Kashmir ,Pashm” is a raw material used in weaving pashmina and refers to the fine ,dowry fleece of Pashmina goats “Capra Hiracus” that grazes at high altitudes in Himalayan ranges.Fabric Pashmina (also known as Pashm) is a finecashmerewool, coming from Kashmir in India and some parts of Nepal. The word ‘Pashmina’ comes from the Persian word ‘Pashmineh’ which means ‘made from Pashm’, and Pash means wool in Persian. The Iranians, who came to Kashmir via the Ladakh route, gave the fabric its name, ‘Pashmina’. The famous Pashmina Shawls Are made from this fine fiber.
The Most uniqueness aspect of kashmir Pashmina is :
The fineness of the pashm wool which is between 14-16 microns while the finest sheep’s wool being 23 microns thick and the human hair ranges up to 200 microns .
The pure pashm wool is so fine and delicate that it can only be handspun and hand woven into fabric ,as it keeps breaking during the entire process.
The Pashmina Goat was first discovered by a prominent Muslim scholar, Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani in Ladakh in the 1300s. Earlier, the fiber was also known as pashm. The first mention of Kashmiri woolen shawls were found in the Afghan texts between the 4th century BC and the 10th century AD. However, it was the 15th-century ruler of Kashmir, Zain-ul-Abidin, who started the Cashmere wool industry in India by introducing weavers from Central Asian countries.The MakingThe Changpa tribe, from the Changthang region are known to be the traditional producers of Pashmina Wool In the Ladakh region. These tribal people rear sheep in harsh and chilly winter climate and lead a nomadic life to produce Pashmina wool.The Cashmere wool is collected every spring from the goats shedding their winter coat. Approximately 80–170 grams of the fiber is collected from each goat and spun to produce Cashmere. Throughout the winter season, the inner coat of the goat’s wool re-grows and becomes ready for extraction of wool in the next Spring.The quality of the cashmere produced in the Gobi Desert is regarded better than the Himalayas variant, because of its consistent manufacturing process and modern machinery.
PASHMINA – GIFT OF KASHMIRI GOATS
The finest Pashmina (scarf, shawl, stole) is woven from the softest and warmest goat’s wool found in nature – from the cashmere (pashmina). Soft fibers of this warm wool originate from a particularly delicate fluff from underbelly of furry breed the central Asian cashmere goats Chyangra (Capra Hircus – Ibex).Chyangra is domesticated and lives in the remote Himalayan valleys at altitudes above 14,000 feet above sea level. To survive the harsh weather conditions is this mountain goat equipped with a long, mostly white coat with a soft undercoat. Against extremely low temperatures at high altitude Himalayan during the long harsh winters insulates and protects goat Chyangra this thin inner coat of hair – fine fuzz, which is used to produce pashmina (cashmere).
GENUINE PASHMINA IS ECOLOGICAL
Kashmiri goats Chyangra are rare. Every summer herders collect the under-fur from goats by hand. After sorting from bristly hairs and clearing gets the soft fluff. Purified fibers are spinning and concocting in the yarn of finest cashmere wool. Pashmina is produced. The sizeof raw cashmere fibre is 1/6 diameter of a human hair.Production of the pashmina, of cashmere is ecological. These goats are not harmed in the process of producing pashmina, as it is collected after being shed naturally. From time immemorial are these natural procedures consistent also with today’s strict rules protecting animals, nature and the environment.
“Moorcrofts” Study on raw material says ‘That every spring ,Himalayan farmers climb these mountains to comb fine woolen undercoat from neck and belly of the Capra Hiracus goat.It takes about 3 goats to produce the wool for one standard size shawl.
In summer Ladakhi Traders come to Chang–Thang to exchange raw fleece for grains ,tea and manufactured goods .the traders collect fleece and transport it to Leh (Capital of Ladakh) where the kashmiri dealers make their purchase and then forward wool to srinagar.
PASHMINA TODAY – SIGN OF STYLE
Pashmina was, is and will remain forever a royal clothing. As in the old days in the Orient, also today is Pashmina an essentials part of the fashionable wardrobe of modern woman. This fact indicates timelessness, attractiveness and practicality of this classical fashion accessory.Even today are original pashmina, cashmere, wool and silk scarves and stoles magical and popular fashion accessory. Luxury and stylish. Genuine pashmina is a precious gift of nature. Fine pure cashmere, wool and silk are a jewel of natural materials of the highest quality.
Dar Javed is a craft management design postgraduate from CDI srinagar