Early Masterpiece Shawls of Kashmir

Plate Navigation


Plate Four
Length: approximately 4 inches
Width: approximately 2 1/2 inches
Condition: fragment
Collection: Victoria and Albert Museum; London


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This small border fragment has been included here for only one reason - its design is unique and archetypal. However small it may be it still is quite beautiful but more important than miniaturized good looks is the gap it fills in the sequence of border designs.

Actually this border design is an earlier version than Plate Three's. The decision to place them out of chronological order was done to first clearly establish the progression of border design along with the respective flowering plant. Additionally the border on Plate Three should be seen as an amalgamation of both the major and minor ones shown here.

The ground color used for both these shawls is feuillemort. Again, this color rarely appears in shawls after the Classic Period but this alone would not be enough to assign such an early date. The inclusion of another realistic flower(fig.18e) in a Classic Period shawl border is highly unusual. So is the scale of the large leaf(fig.18f)and the delicate detailing of the scrolling vine. Even the tiny minor borders display a design and level of finesse unknown in any other example. These features add a high degree of realism and are all additional indications of this shawl border's early date.

What the rest of this shawl looked like is anyone's guess but one thing is certain, it must have been fantastic. Borders were always the least impressive part of a shawl and an example with ones of such complexity can only make us marvel at what this combination of skilled designing and weaving technique could have created for the rest of this shawl.