Early Masterpiece Shawls of Kashmir

Plate Navigation


Plate One
Length: 14 1/2 inches
Width: 5 3/4 inches
Warp: 196 per inch
Weft: 196 per inch
Condition: fragment
Collection: Victoria and Albert Museum; London


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In all respects this small fragment is truly larger than life and the sole survivor from a period of shawl weaving with no other extant examples. Its discovery in the underlining of Tipu Sultan of Mysore's Rich War Jacket has already been discussed and short of the following few comments not much else can be added.

The enigmatic portrayal of the flowering plant as a bulb is iconic and adds a unique, surreal aspect to the archaic medieval drawing style. The large flower blossom with a dart-like root and thick double stem sets out the archetypal version of the sunflower seen on many other later shawls. From the oversized exaggerated blossom of Plate Two to the almost hypnotic central element in the intricate medallion of Plate Fifteen, this motif shines over all others and has great historic significance.