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The New Trends in the Ethnic Interior Designs

The New Trends in the Ethnic Interior Designs

If you are looking for the newest trends in ethnic interior decor designs then you are at the right place. 

Ethnic interior home decor designs doesn’t just look classy but is timeless as well. When done the right way, it can transform even the simplest of the rooms and make them look regal. 

India is all about rich culture, heritage and history- and when it comes to ethnic Indian home decor, these are the sources that you need to draw your inspiration from. Even though it might sound overwhelming, it is simpler than you think.

Home decor doesn’t really have to be complicated- you just need a little time, a few classic pieces on your hand and some creativity and imagination to make their best use. However, lucky for you, we have got the creative part covered for you. 

Here, we will tell you about all of the latest trends in the ethnic interior design; so, keep reading on.

The New Trends in Ethnic Interior Design

1.Use Vibrant Colors

When we talk about ethnic home decor, vibrant colors are a must. Whether it is your walls, your sofa covers or the cushions, adding a pop of bright colors is what will make the difference.

A mix of red or navy blue with some gold or beige color will give your house that royal effect. However, you need to keep it subtle and make sure that you do not overdo it.

Go for earthy tones like rich browns or ochre colors for your walls and floors. Then, you can go for beige or light yellows or such contrasting colors for your pillow covers or sofa sets.

You can also go for a neutral color as your base shade and then add a pop of color here and there.

2.Amp up your corners with handicrafts

Corners play a more important role in your house than you might give them credit for. It is amping up these little spaces that will have a big impact on the overall ambiance of your house.

And what is the best way to bring some ethnicity to these empty corners? Well, that would be through some handicrafts! 

India has a long and glorious history with handicrafts and using a few handicraft pieces is the best way of bringing some ethnicity to your house. 

Whether it is a corner shelf or a corner table, adding just a small ethnic handcrafted showpiece will actually make a huge difference.

Go for something that matches your overall decor and color scheme and you are good to go. An excellent idea here is to add some paper mache handicrafts- paper mache items aren’t just beautiful but also add oodles of elegance to wherever they are kept.

If you are looking for a new ethnic home decor trend then this is it.

3.Ethnic Rugs or Carpets

Well, if ethnic interior design is what is on your mind then ethnic rugs or carpets are the best way to achieve your goal. Whether it is your living room, bedroom or your dining area, adding a ethnic rug or carpet to your floor will transform it like nothing else.

If you do not wish to make any major changes to your overall home decor but still wish to bring some ethnicity to it, this is your best option.

Choose a classic ethnic handcrafted carpet or rug and that is what will completely change the decor game for you. 

If you wish to place one in your living room, placing it under your coffee table or centre table is the best way. As for your bedroom, placing one on either the left or right side of your bed or at the end of it is the best way.

When it comes to ethnic carpets or rugs, go for bright colors like reds or browns and watch how it transforms your space.

4.Use Ethnic Wall Hangings

Just like ethnic carpets or rugs, wall hangings are also a great ethnic home decor idea. Perk up your empty walls with enchanting wall hangings. This is another great option if you do not want to make any major changes to your overall decor but still want to add a touch of ethnicity to it.

While you can use any kind of wall hanging, a handcrafted wall hanging is what will bring the ethnic look to your house. You can perk up any kind of wall with it- whether it is your bedroom, living room, study area or even dining room.

Our suggestion here is that you go for a wall hanging that contrasts the base color of your walls and watch as it creates magic in your house. 

You can either go for an embroidered one or one with beadwork and sequins- basically, there is a lot that you can do here.

5.Use Carvings

Another way of bringing ethnic interior design to your home is by using some wood-carved items. Think about inlays or traditional Indian wood cabinets. These won’t just add an ethnic touch to your home but also give it a great antique and classy look.

While these pieces also serve the purpose of functionality, they are also good for your home’s aesthetics. A shoe cabinet or a crockery cabinet or a cabinet where you can just put some other storage items will work great here.

If ethnic home decor is what is in your mind then a traditional cabinet is the epitome of it. Or if you have any heirloom furniture pieces, they can be of great use here.

If you do not wish to buy any large wood carved cabinets, small items like stools, tables or even trays can do the job for you.

6.Use Fabrics with Ethnic Prints or Patterns

When talking about ethnic interior design, use soft furnishings made of fabrics with ethnic prints or patterns. 

Just like its handicrafts, India is also known for its amazing fabrics. So, here we are talking about your bedsheets and other bedding items, curtains etc.

If we take an example of your bedroom here, use a ethnic printed or patterned bed sheet/ bed cover to give it an ethnic look. You will have at least a hundred options when it comes to this.

With an ethnically printed bed sheet, you can hang a wall hanging on the same wall where your bed is and give it an even more ethnic look. Similarly, just put an ethnic rug at the end of your bed and your ethnic-looking bedroom is now complete. 

Similarly, instead of bed sheets or covers, you can also go for ethnic printed or patterned curtains, either for your bedroom or your living area. You can go for the block printed ones or even simple cotton or cotton silk curtains. Even using ethnic printed cushion covers will work great for you.

Trust us, adding some ethnic soft furnishings to your home is the best way of giving it that ethnic look you desire.

7.Ethnic Ottomans

Another new trend in ethnic home decor is to use ottomans. If you want to add some extra seating to your house without actually changing any of your old furniture, go for ottomans. 

Ottomans with traditions prints, patterns or sequins or bead work is a great way of bringing some ethnicity to your living room. If you go for the bright colored ones that’s even better as they will also add a pop of color to your living space.

These are not just functional but decorative as well. And you also have a host of different options to choose from- just go for the one that suits your overall decor the best.

8.Use an Ethnic Wallpaper

Another great ethnic interior design idea is to add an ethnic wallpaper to your home. Just choose one wall and cover the entire wall with this wallpaper. Whether it is your living room, your bedroom or even your dining room, sprucing a wall up with a wallpaper is a great way of adding an ethnic touch to it.

Just changing one wall will transform the entire look of that particular room. The best part is that you do not need to make any major changes and it will still look amazing.

Just go for a wallpaper that matches the color scheme of your room and it will look simply marvelous. You will find a host of these in the market; so many that you will be spoilt for choice. 

Here, we shared 8 amazing new ideas and ethnic interior design trends with you. Remember that even if you do not wish to make huge changes to your overall decor or spend a lot of money, just changing a few items will do the trick for you.

Ethnic rugs, carpets, wall hangings and fabrics are an amazing way to achieve an overall ethnic look.

Do tell us which one of these 8 ideas or trends did you like the best and which one are you the most excited to incorporate in your own house?

You can buy Interior Home decor from our online store, you can check our products out. We have the finest version home decor and other variety of kashmiri products,Honey, Shilajit, Almonds, Walnuts, Apricots, saffron and similar Kashmiri Foods, we have got you covered. From Wazwan to spices.

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The National Handloom Day: A-Z Guide

The National Handloom Day: A-Z Guide

Did you know that every year the 7th of August is celebrated as National Handloom Day in India?

When we talk about the rich cultural heritage of India, the handloom industry makes up a very, very important part of it as Indians have known this art for thousands of years. The beauty of Indian handloom is truly boundless and the way that it is intricately done can leave anyone mesmerized.

The extraordinarily skilled artisans who are known to have inherited this art from their fathers exhibit excellent craftsmanship. This ancient art form is something that the country takes utmost pride in. 

The Indian handlooms have unparalleled beauty and their intricate craftsmanship gives them a unique identity of their own. There is a lot to know about this industry that even many Indians may also be unaware of.

So, in this article, we tell you not just about the handloom day but also unfold some interesting facts about the Indian handloom industry.

History of Indian Handlooms

India is a land of legendary weaves and weavers and each distinct region and community of the country has its own unique textile tradition. It is an age-old art form that has been passed down from one generation to another for generations and generations now. 

The history of handloom in India can be traced back thousands of years ago, to the Indus Valley Civilization. When it started, the entire process of making the cloth was self-reliant. Right from getting the cotton/ wool/ silk from the farmers/ shepherds to cleaning and transforming it was either done by the weaver himself or the local community. No electricity was required as the end fabric was completely spun using hands. Small handly instruments including the spinning wheel which is commonly known as ‘Chakra’ were mostly used.

It was true magic to see the threads getting woven into beautiful pieces of fabric. 

The Aryan settlers of the time also picked up these techniques and later honed them by making the use of dyes and embroidery for embellishing the fabrics. 

The Indian handloom industry started growing multifold and started flourishing. In fact, during that time, Indian fabrics were also exported to western countries.

It was after the arrival of the Mughals that the weavers and the handloom industry got huge patronage and newer fabrics such as mulmul and jamawar were created. The Indian handlooms were much appreciated and their demand grew by leaps and bounds during this time. During the 17th century, India was manufacturing 25% of the world’s total textiles. 

Now you know that Indian handloom has had a long and glorious history. However, it wasn’t such a great time for the industry during British rule.

It was during British rule that the country was flooded with imported machine-made yarn. Since India also hugely exported cotton during this time, it resulted in a decline in the handloom industry. 

In turn, it also resulted in the loss of livelihood for the spinners, weavers, and others dependent on the handloom industry. Since the yarn came from a distance, the involvement of middlemen increased and the industry fell more into their grip. As the taxation structure also benefitted the import of textiles into India rather than the Indian exports, this further pushed the handloom industry down.

This led to a huge decline in the handloom industry and pushed the weavers into poverty.

Revival of Indian Handloom Industry and Its Present-Day State

During the freedom struggle, the Indian handloom industry was back at the forefront. With Mahatma Gandhi starting the Swadesi movement, hand spinning was reintroduced. All the citizens of the country were urged to use the Chakras for spinning the yarn.

This was a huge turning point for the Indian handloom industry and people greatly turned towards wearing khadi. 

After becoming independent, the Indian government also took several steps in order to revive the handloom industry. Several Acts were introduced and passed and various societies and institutes were set up to promote the sales of these handspun fabrics. 

Today, millions of people are involved in the handloom industry, with the industry being the largest employer for rural India after agriculture. There are thousands of different varieties of looms and fabrics when it comes to Indian handlooms. Yet, the industry isn’t as flourishing as it once was.

The industry has to face competition with cheap imports. Also, the increased cost of natural fiber yarn, more trends of cheaper fabrics in the market, and reduced funding and policy protection have put the industry in a tough spot.

A lot of immensely trained weavers are now quitting weaving and looking for alternative means for their livelihood.

While the industry has had a fair share of ups and downs through the years, it has still somehow managed to sustain itself.

With such a rich history and heritage, the Indian handloom industry is definitely something to be celebrated.

When is World Handloom Day celebrated?

The world handloom day or National Handloom Day in India is celebrated on the 7th of August every year. 

In order to raise awareness regarding the importance of handloom, the Union Government declared 7th August as the National Handloom Day in 2015. As the Swadesi Movement was launched on 7th August back in 1905, this day was chosen to celebrate the Indian handloom industry.

To protest against the partition of Bengal, the Swadeshi movement was launched on this day at the Calcutta Town Hall in 1905. It was launched to boycott foreign goods and support the Indian goods instead. Its aim was to revive the production and use of Indian-made products.

This is the reason why handloom day is celebrated on the 7th of August.

The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi inaugurated the first handloom day in 2015 at Centenary Hall of Madras University in Chennai. 

It is an important day to be celebrated as it helps raise awareness about the handloom industry among the public at large and its contribution to the country’s development.

Why is the National Handloom Day in India celebrated?

The main aim behind celebrating world handloom day is to raise awareness about it and let people know of its importance. In order to realize the historic and cultural importance of this industry and to honor the weavers who work so relentlessly to keep the art form alive, this day is celebrated.

Handloom day is also celebrated to remember the socio-economic impact of the industry on the development of our country. This day highlights the weavers and their contribution to our society and the country.

Along with being a major symbol of Indian cultural heritage, the handloom sector is also a major means of livelihood. So, to preserve our heritage and to acknowledge the contribution of these weavers, the celebration of national handloom day in India is of utmost importance. The day also plays an important role to empower the workers of this sector. This also aims at empowering the women workforce of India as about 70% of the total workforce of the handloom sector constitutes women.

Another goal behind celebrating this is to promote genuine high-quality handloom in the international market.

How is Handloom Day celebrated?

World handloom day is being celebrated every year since 2015. There are various events and activities that take place in order to commemorate this day. The Union Textiles Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar announced it in both the houses of the Parliament. 

The first-ever national handloom day in India was inaugurated by the Prime Minister at the Centenary Hall of Madras University in Chennai. A lot of other imminent key personalities were also present at the occasion where the PM addressed everyone and talked about the significance of handloom in our country. An exhibition was also held at the event where weavers from all across the country showcased their handloom creations.

As for the second nation handloom day which was held in 2016, the venue of the event was Varanasi and the Union Textiles Minister was the chief guest. Various Handloom and Sant Kabir Awards were also held on this day across all the states of the country. Besides the main event, many other smaller events were also held in celebration of the day all over the country. The day was celebrated grandly in more than 200 handloom clusters. 

As for 2017, the main event was held at Guwahati. Along with the main event, various other smaller events took place at schools, colleges, universities, etc. in order to commemorate the day. The main event was presided over by Union Minister Of State, Textiles, and he spoke about the various initiatives taken by the government for the welfare of the weavers.

The fourth edition of the national handloom day in India was celebrated in Nagade in the Nashik district. To celebrate the day, various programs were organized for the weavers’ community. All India Handloom board members, Sant Kabir awardees, Merit certificate holders, etc. were also invited to grace the event.

As for the 2019 edition of the day, the main event was held in Bhubaneshwar. Along with the main event, smaller events also took place at various Weavers’ Service Centres in different tates. Workshops, exhibitions, and panel discussions were also important parts of celebration all over the country. Pehchan cards and Yarn Passbooks were also distributed on this day.

As for 2020, world handloom day was celebrated in a unique way as all the celebrations were virtual. To avoid public gatherings amid the pandemic, a virtual platform was used for the celebration by the Ministry of Textiles. The Textile Minister was the Chief Guest and all 28 Weaver Service Centers, NIFT campuses and handloom clusters across India were virtually present for the event.

The handloom day is celebrated every year with a lot of zest. Unique events, exhibitions, and activities are held to mark the importance of the day and make it special.

How has Handloom Day impacted the Handloom industry in India?

While the Indian handloom industry has a long way to fight the large scale import of foreign textiles and other products, it is a plus point that more and more Indians are now realizing the importance of Indian-made handlooms. While we still may have a long way to go and revive the handloom industry to its former glory, there is definitely a ray of hope.

The celebration of national handloom day in India has definitely created more opportunities for the weavers and their families. As more and more people are becoming aware of our historically rich handloom sector, they are turning towards it.

The celebration of this day is also helping the weavers get back on their feet and more schemes are being launched in their favor. Various independent organizations are also coming forward to help these weavers out and to revive the industry. 

Conclusion

Whether it is Bandhani from Gujarat, Paithani sarees from Maharashtra, Muga silk from Assam, or Pashmina shawls from Kashmir, each and every kind of fabric made in the Indian subcontinent holds a lot of significant importance.

For as long as we have known, the handloom sector has played a very important role in the socio-economic development of the country. It is the weavers and their beautifully skilled hands that are to be credited to keep this rich traditional craft alive.

For generations and generations together, not just a single person but an entire family of a person has been involved in the handloom sector.

The national handloom day in India, celebrated on 7th August every year since 2015, comes as a ray of hope for those majorly involved in the handloom industry.

We hope this article cleared your doubts on when handloom day is celebrated, why it is celebrated, and what its significance is.

You can check out our collection of handmade suits, pashminas, kurtis, kaftans and pherans online.

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Scandinavian Jewelry: All You Need to Know!

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Scandinavian Jewelry: All You Need to Know!

Scandinavian Jewelry: All You Need to Know!

Known for its coastal beauty, steep mountains, Viking heritage, and deep fjords, the Scandinavian region that makes up the countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway is sure a breathtaking place. However, the region has a lot more to offer than just its scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage and history. While people travel here for a magical escape among the mountains and the beaches, we are here to tell you about another very interesting aspect of Scandinavia- their jewelry! 

While jewelry may not be the first thing to come to your mind when you think of Scandinavia, there sure is a lot that you must know about it.

Today, Scandinavian jewellery is immensely popular all over the world and there are a host of prominent Scandinavian designers who have left their mark in the jewellery industry.

Right from the dainty silver jewelry to the unique jewelry designs made popular by the Vikings, there is a lot to Scandinavian jewelry than you might think. Whether you prefer simple and elegant jewelry designs or something heavier or more glamorous, you can find it all in the jewellery of the Scandinavians.

So, come along, as we tell you everything that there is to know about Scandinavian jewelry- right from its history to its present-day state.

Scandinavian Jewelry: A Brief History

The time of the Vikings was an important one in the history of Scandinavia, and needless to say, the Vikings also highly popularized very distinctive jewellery designs during their time. 

However, it wasn’t until the later part of the 19th century that the jewelry industry of this area came on its own. Until this time, the jewelry from all the three Scandinavian countries namely Denmark, Norway, and Sweden was highly influenced by the early Nordic traditions. Let us take a look at the history of Viking jewelry first.

Viking Jewellery

Right from gold to simple animal bones, a host of different materials were used for making the Viking Scandinavian jewellery. Not just women but men too loved wearing jewelry. Rings, brooches, necklaces, and bracelets were the commonly worn jewelry pieces by them. 

They made their own intricate jewellery in the form of necklaces, rings, bracelets, etc out of a variety of different materials. While the poor used bronze or animal bones to make their jewelry, the rich made use of precious silver or gold. 

The men were mostly known to wear a single brooch on their right shoulder whereas the women wore one on either of their shoulders in order to fasten their shawls. Their bracelets, rings, pendants, and other jewelry mostly had complex knotted designs and symbolic signs. Many of their ornaments featured images of animals, particularly those of snakes and their twisting shapes.

Wherever they went, the Vikings picked up the fashions from those countries and then used them in their own jewelry styles. At the beginning of the Viking era, the designs were relatively simple but as time went by, they became more sophisticated and intricate.

An interesting fact to note here is that the Vikings didn’t just wear jewelry to bring some glamour into their seemingly dark world. But in fact, the jewelry also had a secondary purpose which was of using it as currency in trade. That is also probably a reason why they preferred using precious materials to make their jewelry.

Necklaces

The Vikings commonly used gold, silver, natural fiber, and iron wired to craft their necklaces and they would be accompanied by pendants that were made from glass beads, precious stones, metallic charms, etc. The pendant designs were often the Nordic religious symbols, souvenirs, or gifts that held great importance to the wearer. 

Pendants

Right from the Mjolnir pendants to Valkunt pendants to Thor’s hammer, the Vikings wore a host of different pendant designs. They are also known to have amulets but whether they wore them isn’t exactly known.

Brooches

When we talk about the Scandinavian jewelry of the Vikings, we cannot leave brooches behind as they were immensely popular during their period. They were an essential jewelry piece commonly used for holding clothes in place. While their brooches came in an array of different styles, the oval brooches and penannular brooches were the most common. The Penannular brooches were exclusively worn by the men while the women wore the oval brooches. The women would wear them to fasten their dresses, aprons, or cloaks.

Rings

We also cannot miss out on rings when we talk about Scandinavian jewellery and especially, Viking jewelry. The finger rings that they wore were mostly open-ended and had an uneven width. While wearing rings was very common, they only became popular in the late-Viking ages.

Earrings

Earrings were actually pretty uncommon during the Viking era and probably the least common ornament that they wore. However, their earrings were quite intricate and they would be worn over the entire ear.

Arm Rings/ Bracelets

Arms rings or what we commonly know as bracelets were also very popular during those times. These bracelets or arm rings were a display of wealth and were also often used for commercial purposes. Right from gold and silver to animal bones, different materials were used to make them.

The Vikings didn’t just enjoy fashion but their fashion also came with a purpose. They didn’t just craft intricate ornaments for wearing them but they also served as currency in times of need. With a rich culture, the Vikings also left behind beautiful and unique Scandinavian jewelry that is celebrated and worn to date.

Scandinavian Jewellery – Denmark

Denmark is majorly known for its intricate and delicate silver and gold jewelry. Even though this jewelry has become quite trendy in recent years, it is deeply rooted in the country’s history. 

While the Copenhagen Guild of Goldsmiths was established in 1429, it was in 1746 when Queen Sophie Magdelene was crowned and gave the country’s jewelers a major lift. She started her own jewelry collection and specified that a collection of jewels always needs to be at the disposal of the sitting Queen.

That’s how the legacy of beautiful intricate jewelry in Denmark began and it has only flourished since. The country is known for its minimalist yet very elegant jewelry.

Intricate, minimalist yet sophisticated and trendy is what defines Danish jewelry the best. Today, there are several Danish jewelry houses that are immensely popular all over the world, including Pandora and Georg Jensen. 

Scandinavian Jewelry – Norway

The traditional Norwegian jewelry is known as ‘Solje’ (SOL-ya) which basically means shiny or sunny. These antique pieces are centuries old and back in the day, they were completely handmade using silver and other precious materials. 

The Solje pieces had interesting designs like that of a crown top or scalloped edge designs and tear-shaped drops would hang below these designs. These Solje pieces represented the sun and were usually worn on the collars or cuffs as brooches or pins. It was common for women to wear as many as three pieces of this jewelry at a time.

The Solje Scandinavian jewellery has now evolved and it can now be found in the form of earrings, necklaces as well as other pieces of jewelry. These jewelry pieces are often presented as gifts on birthdays, weddings as well as other special occasions.

The solje jewelry wasn’t just worn by women but also by men in order to buckle their shoes. 

Solje jewelry is still made in Norway to date and each heart and each flower is painstakingly made by hand turning the silver wires. Then, special silver drops are placed on it. Today, earrings, as well as pendants, are also made in this form of Scandinavian jewelry. 

Solje is the traditional jewelry of Norway that is usually worn on special occasions, holidays, or weddings. And this form of jewelry is majorly made from sterling silver.

Scandinavian Jewellery – Sweden

The material used for making Swedish jewelry has majorly been silver. 

Bridal crowns or tiaras have always been a huge thing in Sweden and the most spectacular part of wedding jewelry. The design of these crowns is majorly inspired by medieval royal origins and the crowns are often made of silver and then gilded.

Angel’s head with wings, leaf pendants, and other such motifs were commonly found on these crowns as well as on other traditional Swedish jewelry pieces. 

Sweden also has a rich tradition of unique ancient jewelry and some of its pieces included silver eyes, silver clasps, and gold and silver belts. 

Wealthy peasant families owned a lot of these ornaments and they would get passed down from generation to generation. The silver eyes would be kept nicely stored and came out only when a bride was to be dressed on her wedding. These ornaments go back to as early as medieval times but they attained the greatest development during the renaissance period. 

Another very common ornament was the clasp, which was majorly used for fastening a jacket or a cloak. Women as well as men also commonly used neck buttons in order to fasten their collars.

Rings, necklaces, belts, and other ornaments were worn only on festive or very special occasions. And also, much like the other ornaments, these ornaments also came out on weddings. A Swedish bride would be covered in silver ornaments from head to toe.

Scandinavian Jewelry Today

Now that we have an idea of the history of Scandinavian jewellery considering its different regions and eras, let us tell you about its present-day state.

Along with its rich history, the jewelry from Scandinavia is still very much in prominence today and has gained a lot of popularity. There are numerous Scandinavian design jewelry houses selling this kind of special jewelry worldwide. There are also numerous designers belonging to Scandinavia who have left their huge mark on the jewelry industry.

Top Scandinavian Jewellery Brands and Designers to look out for

1.Georg Jensen

A Danish designer, he opened his studio in Copenhagen in 1904. His jewelry was mostly influenced by natural forms of arts and crafts and his designs featured simple minimal silver designs. He also employed several other well-respected designers. Today, Georg Jensen is a very popular jewelry brand not just in Denmark but all over the world for beautiful Scandinavian jewelry.

2.Bjørg

Also founded by a Danish designer Bjørg Nordli-Mathisen, Bjørg is a household name when it comes to Scandinavian jewellery. For over a decade, the brand has been selling beautiful minimalistic yet elegant jewelry. Her earrings, necklaces, and other jewelry tell stories of something old and untold.

3.Sägen

A Swedish brand, Sägen is a very popular Nordic jewelry brand. The brand is the perfect mix of vintage blended with modern style. This brand by Elin Sigrén has fresh and unpredictable style that is also very versatile. The jewelry goes with a number of outfits as well as occasions.

4.Maria Black

Another Scandinavian jewelry designer to look out for is Maria Black. She is a Danish designer whose jewelry designs are minimalistic yet have a certain level of attitude in them. She believes in pushing the boundaries when it comes to jewelry and that has become her mantra.

5.Line & Jo

Line & Jo offers Nordic style sleek and simple jewelry pieces that also have a sculptural twist to them. The brand is known to set jewelry trends in Scandinavia that has brought another dimension to minimalism. Line & Jo is also a fantastic Scandinavian jewelry brand based in Denmark.

Apart from these 5 there are several brands as well as designers that are popular for their traditional Scandinavian jewellery designs.

Conclusion

Here, we told you about the history of Scandinavian jewellery along with its present day state. All in all, Scandinavian jewelry can be defined as something that is minimalistic, simple and yet highly elegant and sophisticated. Silver is the most commonly used metal when it comes to jewelry from this region.

On the other hand, the Viking jewelry from Scandinavia is known to be very bold and unique. While its style may be a lot different as compared to the traditional silver Scandinavian jewelry, both these jewelry types have a charm of their own. 

Over to You

Here, we talked about the 21 must-read books on jewellery. Which one of these 21 jewellery books are you the most excited to read?

In case you wish to buy some silver jewelery, head over to our jewelry section where you can buy rings, earrings, pendants, bangles & bracelets and necklaces.

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Wall Decor Ideas to Lift Your Mood

Wall Decor Ideas to Lift Your Mood

Are you on the lookout for some amazing wall decor ideas? Are you wondering how you can take your home decor a few notches up?

Well, think of your walls as a blank canvas that you can fill up with anything that you can possibly think of! After all, whether it is your living room or bedroom space, sprucing up an empty wall can transform its entire look. The right kind of decor has the ability to lift up your spirits and make you feel more at home.

No matter what your style may be, we have some great wall decorating ideas for you. So come on, let’s find them out!

Handmade Home Decor
Wall Decor Ideas to Lift Your Mood 65

Wall Decor Ideas that Give a Lift to Your Mood

Here, we’ll tell you how you can amp up the walls of your living room, bedroom as well as a children’s room. Let’s get started with your living room first.

Wall Decor Ideas for Living Room

Your living room is definitely one of the most important rooms in your house. Along with spending a significant amount of time here yourself, you may also entertain guests and other people here. 

Being the first room in your house, it is the one room that most people will visit. Your living room is one place in your house that will leave a lasting impression on others and speak volumes of not just the rest of the house but also the people living in it. So, it is important that you decorate it carefully keeping in mind the impact that it’ll make. Your living room should be the right balance of being inviting, comfortable and yet go with your personal taste or style.

Here are some top wall art ideas for your living room:

1. Drape Some Wall Hangings

Wall hangings are a great way of adding oodles of style to any room, especially the living room. 

These wall decor pieces aren’t just unique and classy but go well with literally every aesthetic. If you love handicrafts, wall hangings are the perfect way to decorate your walls.

If you are wondering how to choose a wall hanging for your living room walls, the best option would be to go for something that contrasts your walls. For lighter colored walls, go for darker wall hangings like this one and for darker walls, go for the lighter ones.

This is one of the best wall decor ideas and would go very well on a wall that is behind your couch. 

2. Hang Mirrors/ Plates

Another amazing way of decorating your walls is by hanging some mirrors/ plates on them. Mirrors don’t just reflect light but also make a room look much bigger. 

Similarly, a few decorative plates will also make an excellent style statement in your living room.

Living Room
Wall Decor Ideas to Lift Your Mood 66

3. Showcase Some Art Such as Paper Mache

Shelves are also one of the best wall art ideas. You can install either open or closed shelves on your living room walls and then add classy and elegant items like paper mache to them. 

These floating shelves will give quite a look to your walls.

4. Have an Accent Wall

Accent walls also work great for living room decor. You can use bright paint color and designs and basically personalize a wall the way you want to. An accent wall perfectly contrasts three other simple walls.

Additionally, you can also add any of the above three wall decor ideas to an accent wall to enhance its look.

Wall Decor Ideas for Bedroom

If you are looking for wall art ideas for your bedroom, we have plenty of them too. Your bedroom is your personal space and thus, make sure that every time you step inside it after a long day of work, you feel instantly relaxed. This style will work for your guest room as well.

Decorating your bedroom the right way can make a bigger difference than you might think. It is a place that you can truly call your ‘own’ and hence personalizing it your own way will only make it cozier and more welcoming for you.

If you aren’t sure where to begin, a wall is a great place to start. Here are some wall decorating ideas that you may like.

1. The Walls Can’t go Empty

Just like the living room, wall hangings go extremely well on bedroom walls too. If you have an overall classy and elegant aesthetic, a wall hanging will just add more charm to it. Even if you have a casual aesthetic, wall hangings make a great addition to it.

A beautiful floral hanging or one with natural accents would go perfectly well on the wall behind your bed or on the one opposite it. 

If you love luxurious decor that gives a posh look, handcrafted wall hangings are the best idea. Darker colored wall hangings would complement your bedroom walls amazingly well. 

You can also be a little creative here and use handmade rugs or carpets and hang them as wall hangings.

2. Have a Gallery Wall

If you are still looking for wall decor ideas, you can also go for a gallery wall. A gallery wall is basically a wall that is filled with pictures/ frames.

For a gallery wall, you can either put up your own family pictures on the wall or decide a theme and select the pictures accordingly. For this wall art idea, you can use pictures/ frames of various sizes so that they complement each other well.

A gallery wall will add lots of personality to your bedroom.

3. Install Shelves

Installing shelves on your bedroom walls is also one of the best wall decor ideas. You can use these shelves to showcase your impressive book collection or even your most cherished art pieces.

Pro Tip: If you are fond of handicrafts, there is nothing like paper mache items to amp up those shelves!

Paper Mache Decor

4. Go for a wallpaper

If you want to go for something simple, go for a wallpaper. A wallpaper is a low-risk wall decor idea that still looks pretty great.

Choose a wallpaper that goes well with the color scheme of the rest of your bedroom and your wall is sure to stand out beautifully.

Wall Decor Ideas for Children’s Room

Now that we have talked about wall decorating ideas for the living room and bedroom, let us talk about how you can amp up a child’s bedroom by decorating its walls.

It truly is interesting to decorate kids’ bedrooms and one of the most enjoyable parts has to be the walls. Children’s bedrooms need to be colorful, playful and something super fun to look at. And here’s how you can do that. 

1. Use a Fun Wallpaper

A colorful wallpaper with cute prints is one of the best wall art ideas for a kid’s bedroom. You can find an array of wallpapers that will help you create magic in a children’s bedroom. A simple wallpaper can transform its entire look and make the room appear super happy and fun.

You can go for cute prints or even something with bright colors as there is an endless variety that you can choose from.

Children Room Decor
Wall Decor Ideas to Lift Your Mood 67

2. Paint a Mural

Another interesting way of decorating a children’s bedroom wall is by painting a mural on one of the walls. Murals are fun, colorful, unique and a child is sure to love them.

You can paint their favorite cartoon character, animal or even the world map. The possibilities here are truly endless and you can unleash your creative side to the utmost level.

3. Animal or Bird Wall Hangings

If you don’t want to put in too many efforts and just do something simple and quick yet equally interesting for your children’s bedroom, here’s one of the best wall decorating ideas.

Just put up an animal or bird wall hanging on their wall. It is creative, easy and also very fun to look at.

A quirky wall hanging will add a beautiful edge to any children’s room and make it look amazing. It is also a pretty unique idea as compared to other children’s bedroom wall art ideas. You can also go for multiple wall hangings on the same or different walls to create a beautiful design on the walls.

4. Having a Shelf Area

Shelves aren’t just great for storing toys and other children’s stuff but they also make for great wall decorating ideas.

You can just install a few of them on plain or wallpapered or even painted walls and then doll these shelves up with beautiful decor pieces. Again, decorative items like paper mache would make a perfect addition to your shelves.

Over to You

Here were some amazing wall decor ideas for your living room, bedroom as well as the children’s room. While you might need some time and effort to do a few, the others are super easy and quick.

Out of these super fun ideas, which ones did you like the best? Tell me about it in the comments.

You must visit Kashmirica’s Shopping Page for Kashmiri Dresses, Pashmina Shawls, Salwar Kameez, Kaftans, Men’s Pashmina, Attar Perfumes, Kashmiri Jewellery, Rugs & Carpets, Wall Hangings, Kashmiri Foods, Organic Kesar, Pure Shilajit, Organic Honey, Almonds, Walnuts, Dried Apricots, and other Dry Fruits.

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Get to Know the Mughal Architecture Intimately Well

Get to Know the Mughal Architecture Intimately Well

During the patronage of the Mughals in India from the 16th to the 18th century, Indian architecture was greatly influenced. The Mughal architecture is a beautiful amalgamation influenced by the Persian, Turkish, Indian and some other provincial styles.

And even today, Mughal architecture is prevalent in a lot of historic Mughal monuments, palaces, tombs, and forts throughout the country; especially in the northern and central parts of India. The monuments built during this period were works of superior quality and refinement.

Some striking features of the Mughal art and architecture include the bulbous domes, large halls and minarets with cupolas at four corners. Almost all the Mughal rulers were great builders and each ruler had his own distinctive style.

Get to Know the Mughal Architecture Intimately Well 1

If art and architecture intrigues you as well, then read along. Here, we discuss the splendid Mughal architecture in detail.

Mughal Architecture under Emperor Akbar’s rule (1556 to 1605):

Emperor Akbar was the son of Humayun and the grandson of Babur. He is believed to have had  a great passion for art and architecture. During his rule is when the early Mughal architecture first started developing.

The monuments, Mughal art and Mughal paintings made during this time period were a beautiful combination of Indian Hindu, Muslim, Persian, Turkic and Central Asian styles. The architecture during the reign of Emperor Akbar is also quite popular for its large-scale use of red sandstone. And the use of red sandstones is made quite lavishly in Akbar’s own tomb and in the construction of his royal city, Fatehpur Sikri.

Some of the most stunning examples of the Akbari architecture include the Humayun’s tomb, Fatehpur Sikri, Buland Darwaza, Agra Fort and Akbar’s tomb.

Akbar's Fort
Akbar’s Fort – Pic Native Planet

The tomb of Akbar’s father, Humayun is considered to be one of the most outstanding works of Mughal architecture under the rule of Akbar. Humayun’s wife Hamida Banu Begum commissioned the tomb and it was designed by a Persian architect.

Humayun’s Tomb is also the first-ever garden tomb in India. A particularly striking feature here is the use of Rajasthani decorative elements with small dome structures surrounding the central one. Semi-precious stones in geometric and arabesque patterns are used on the facade of the monument along with latticed stone-carved decoration. 

Fatehpur Sikri was built between 1569 and 1585. It was built with the intention of being made the joint capital of Agra. However, the plan didn’t work out due to water system issues. Nevertheless, Fatehpur Sikri remains as one of the most visited cities today.

Owing to its architectural brilliance, Agra fort was declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO. 

Yet another masterpiece of the Mughal architecture is Akbar’s tomb, located in Sikandra in Agra. The intricate detailing of the carvings and paintings on the ceilings are truly spectacular.

Mughal Architecture under Jahangir’s rule (1605 to 1627)

Jahangir was believed to be more passionate about art and paintings rather than architecture. However, some very significant architectural works were commissioned under him. One of the most remarkable buildings constructed by him includes the Akbar’s tomb. Even though Akbar planned the tomb, after his death, Akbar’s son Jahangir continued and completed its construction. The four corners of the mausoleum have marble minarets. 

The tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah at Agra is yet another great example of architecture under Jahangir’s rule. This structure is built entirely using white marble and decorated using semi-precious jewels in mosaic style.

Itmad-ud-Daulah
Itmad-ud-Daulah Pic – Wikipedia

Mughal Architecture under Shah Jahan’s rule (1628 to 1658)

The reign of Shah Jahan was a turning point for the Mughal architecture. We all know about the stunningly beautiful Taj Mahal that he built for his wife. However, Mughal architecture under Shah Jahan’s rule consists of a lot more than just the Taj Mahal. This period is often referred to as the ‘Golden period of Architecture in India’. The buildings created during his reign are believed to have unmatched exquisite beauty, grandeur and elegance. White marble was the most preferred material for construction during this time. 

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Taj Mahal: Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan in the memory of his third wife, Mumtaz. This great work of architectural wonder is situated in Agra. This monument was built between 1632 and 1648. It took around 20,000 men to construct this beautiful monument.

The Taj Mahal is believed to be the greatest achievement of the Mughal architecture. It is placed on a huge square-shaped plinth. This magnificent monument has four facades and each of the facades has an arch-shaped doorway.

The Taj Mahal has a huge double dome on its top. Surrounding its central dome are four smaller domes and each of these domes has a lotus motif on it. On every corner of the huge square plinth is a tall minaret.

On the exterior, the Taj Mahal is decorated with vegetable motifs, calligraphy, verses from the Koran and various abstract forms. This is executed using semi-precious stones, paint and carvings. As for its interiors, precious and semi-precious stones are used. The Taj Mahal is truly a work of unparalleled beauty.

Other architectural works by Shah Jahan include the Red Fort in Delhi which began its construction in 1638 and was completed in 1648.  Very fine red sandstone was utilized for the construction of this fort.

For about 200 years, the Red Fort was the main residence of the Mughal emperors. Today, the Lal Qila or the Red Fort is one of the most popular and most visited tourist spots in Delhi. 

Although the Red Fort was constructed much before, it underwent major renovations during Shah Jahan’s rule. Many structures were demolished and new ones were built in its place.

Yet another stunning Mughal monument built during Shah Jahan’s reign was the Jama Masjid, which is one of the largest mosques in India. Its striking features are its super tall minarets and the vast courtyard. 

Yet another monument that Shah Jahan built is the Jama Masjid in Agra. He built it in his beloved daughter Jahanara Begum’s honor. 

The Moti Masjid inside the Agra Fort is yet another architectural wonder built by Shah Jahan. It is made completely using marble and hence, often referred to as ‘Pearl Mosque’. 

Mughal Architecture under Aurangzeb’s rule (1658 to 1707)

During his reign, marble and squared stones were replaced by brick and rubble for building materials. He also built one of the 13 gates of the Lahore fort and the Badshahi mosque. However, the Mughal architecture is believed to decline during Aurangzeb’s reign.

Now that we saw Mughal architecture through the reign of various Mughal Emperors, let us now delve a little deeper into the Mughal paintings.

Mughal Paintings:

Mughal Paintings are a style of painting that developed in the court of Mughal Empire. These are usually confined to book illustrations or are single sheets preserved in albums.

The Mugal paintings can be categorized into four categories as follows: the Akbar period, the Jahangir period, the Shah Jahan period and the Aurangzeb period. Different painting styles developed under these different rulers and that is how the paintings came to be categorized.

Get to Know the Mughal Architecture Intimately Well 2

The Period of Akbar (1556 to 1605):

Akbar set up the first workshop of court painters and staffed the painters from various parts of India. The painters he staffed were responsible for illustrating books on various subjects ranging from romance and poetry to history and legend. 

During Akbar’s reign, the greatest Mughal paintings can be found in the illustrations of Hamzanama. Out of about 1,400 illustrations only 200 remain today. 

The Period of Jahangir (1605 to 1627):

Emperor Jahangir was believed to be quite fond of Mughal art and paintings and thus, the Mughal paintings developed quite a lot during his reign. Having an artistic inclination, he was believed to be greatly influenced by the European paintings. Jahangir encouraged his royal atelier to create paintings that depicted the various events in his own life. He also encouraged individual portraits as well as portraits on studies of birds, animals and flowers. Jahangirnama, an autobiography of the Emperor Jahangir contains several Mughal paintings that were created during his reign.

The Period of Shah Jahan (1628 to 1658):

The Mughal paintings continued to develop throughout Shah Jahan’s reign. However, the style became more rigid. Illustrations belonging to ‘Padshahnama’, an Islamic manuscript that is a part of the Royal Collection at Windsor were painted during Shah Jahan’s reign. It contains the portraits of the royal courtiers and servants. Paintings during this reign had more contemporary themes such as music parties, portraits of lovers etc.

The Period of Aurangzeb and the later paintings (1658 to 1809):

Never a painting enthusiast, Aurangzeb did not encourage Mughal paintings. Mughal paintings still continued to survive but were declining slowly. By the end of the Mughal rule, the art of the Mughal paintings was almost lost.

Today, Mughal architecture is an integral part of India and its rich history. It has influenced Indian architecture quite a lot. The Mughal Emperors, through the Mughal art and architecture, have left a long-lasting legacy of monuments, palaces, and forts behind.

Btw, you must check out our collection of Pashmina, Salwar Kameez, Kaftan Tops, Kashmiri Saree, Kurta & Kurti, Shawls for Men, Attar Perfumes, Oudh Perfumes, Handmade Decor, Dry Fruits such as Almonds, Walnuts, Saffron, Shilajit and Honey.

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Everything that You Need to Know About Kashmiri Paper Mache Crafts

Everything that You Need to Know About Kashmiri Paper Mache Crafts

When we think of Kashmiri arts and crafts, the first few things that come to mind are shawls, carpets, rugs, and probably woodwork and embroidery. However, something that the world does not know is that Kashmir is also very well-known for its paper mache crafts. Today, the paper mache handicraft is as ingrained in Kashmir’s culture as any other handicraft. 

We know paper mache as the craft that we made for school projects or during vacations as kids. But, the Kashmiri paper mache craft is a true art that has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries.

It is hard to imagine that something made out of waste paper could look so beautiful and elegant.  The Kashmiri craftsmen are so amazingly skilled that they can turn even discarded paper into an attractive work of art.

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‘Paper mache’ is a French term which when translated literally means ‘chewed paper’. This art is said to have originated in China hundreds of years ago.

In this article, we share with you everything that you need to know about the Kashmiri Paper Mache crafts. 

The History of Kashmiri Paper Mache Crafts

The origin of the paper mache crafts in Kashmir dates back to as early as the 15th century.  And the credit for bringing this art form to Kashmir is believed to go to the eighth ruler of Kashmir, Zain-ul-Abidin. He came across this art during his time as a Kashmiri prince in Samarkand, Central Asia. That was when he was intrigued by paper mache handicraft.

When he returned to Kashmir, he brought many craftsmen along with him to the valley to train his subjects on the same. 

Yet another legend suggests that this art was introduced in Kashmir by a poet and Sufi saint called Mir Sayyid Ali Hamdani. He came to Kashmir from Iran in the mid 14th century. He brought along with him 700 artisans from Iran. These artisans are thought to have taught the local Kashmiris various art forms; and paper mache craft was one of them.

No matter what the story of its origin, this art was made highly popular during the Mughal rule. 

The art was originally known by its Iranian name Kar-i-Qalamdani in Kashmir. The word ‘Qalamdani’ is basically pen case. Initially, this art was only restricted to making pen cases.

But, through the years, the art of paper mache has tremendously grown in the valley with numerous items available these days.

Famous Papier Mache Kashmiri Items

On your visit to Kashmir, you will find a host of paper mache items ranging in various sizes. You will find shops and shops lined across the street selling them. Paper mache items also make the perfect souvenirs to carry back home. Pick an item that resonates the most with you- as a fond memory of your trip to Kashmir, something to remember forever! 

You will find jewellery boxes, storage boxes, coasters, bowls, trays, pencil stands and a lot more. You will also find decor items such as vases, miniature hookah pots, photo frames, eggs, small elephants and an array of other decor items. 

Paper mache handicraft isn’t just used for utility items but for perking up living spaces too. If you are looking for something bigger, papier mache is also used for making furniture pieces like stools, small chests and cabinets, and lamps.

Each and every artifact is so beautifully painted that it is hard to not fall in love with every piece that you come across. 

Not just for making products, this art has also been used to decorate walls in historic places like the Shah-e-Hamdan mosque and the Naqshband shrine in Kashmir.

How are Kashmir Paper Mache Crafts Made?

The artisans involved in this profession are supremely skilled and practice the art for years and years. This art has also traditionally existed as a family profession in Kashmir. And like many other Kashmiri handicrafts, the trick and technique behind it gets passed on from one generation to another.

How is Paper Mache Made?

Even though the idea behind this handicraft might sound relatively simple, it is a very time-consuming process and requires a lot of precision. It basically involves two main steps- Sakthsazi (making of the actual item) and Naqashi (the painting and decoration part).

Now, let’s take a look at the making of paper mache handicrafts in detail.

Sakthsazi

The sakthsazi is the one involved with making the object with the pulp of paper. First of all, the waste paper is soaked in water for several days. Then, a mixture of the soaked waste paper, cloth and the straw of a rice plant is pounded manually in a stone mortar. This is pounded until the mixture becomes very fine and forms a pulp. Then, a rice based glue called ‘Atij’ is combined with this pulp mixture.

This complete mixture is then applied onto the desired mould and then left to dry for a few days. After it has dried out, the artwork is very carefully separated from the mould. The artwork is basically cut in two halves to separate it from the mould and the halves are carefully joined with the help of glue. The resultant object that is obtained is known as ‘Kalib’. 

Then, for the next step, the kalib is handed over to the women. This process is referred to as ‘Pishlawun’. As the next step, the women smoothen out the surface of the artwork with either a stone, baked clay or a wooden file.

After the object is nicely smoothened out, it is coated with a light layer of paint/ lacquer. It is coated again with a second coat of lacquer mixed with some chalk powder and water. This is again left to dry out for some time.

After the sakthsazi’s work is done, the artwork/ object is handed over to the Naqash.

Naqashi

When the object reaches the Naqash, it is first covered with thin sheets of butter paper. The butter paper is pasted so that it acts as a barrier between the main object and the paintwork so that the object doesn’t crack. After covering with butter paper, a thin coat of paint is applied all over the artwork. 

This is actually the step where the object is transformed into the beautiful piece of paper mache handicraft that we know. This work is also very intricate and usually takes about 3 days to a week. The designs are first drawn free hand on the object and then they are painted. The designer uses various different motifs like flowers, fruits, birds, creepers etc.

Mostly metallic paints are used for an illuminated effect. After the motifs are painted, often gold or silver is used to highlight them. Mostly the colors that are used for painting are all organic and either nature or vegetable-based. When the whole painting procedure is completed, the final step involves covering the artwork with a layer of varnish for an added shine.

This is the whole procedure that goes into making paper mache crafts. It is an extensive process that requires a lot of patience and attention to detail. But, the whole process is worth it as the end result is absolutely stunning.

Even though these handicrafts are made using paper, the extensive process that goes into making them is what makes these handicrafts extremely durable. Each of these individually created items has a unique story to tell. The Kashmir paper mache crafts are largely pursued by the Shia sect of the Kashmiri Muslims.

Popular Papier Mache Kashmir Motifs

Some popular motifs that are used in paper mache Kashmir include:

  • Designs inspired by the Mughal era
  • Flowers within flowers
  • Numerous floral patterns
  • Hazara or thousand flowers pattern
  • Birds
  • Jungle and its scenes
  • The majestic Chinar tree of Kashmir
  • Almond designs
  • Geometrical designs
  • And many more..

Your trip to Kashmir is basically incomplete without buying a beautiful artifact made with paper mache. Even if you don’t visit Kashmir, this beautiful artifact is a must-have for every handicraft lover. 

Over to You

While Kashmir takes immense pride in its beautiful paper mache crafts, its demand and sale have seen a decline in the recent years. Although we all take a lot of pride in our centuries-old traditions and art forms, we often fail to sustain the artisans who toil hard to keep our traditions alive.

The paper mache handicraft isn’t just a source of livelihood for thousands of Kashmiri artisans but also an integral part of India’s cultural lineage. We hope that this beautiful art form continues to grace the rich culture of Kashmir and more and more generations to come. 

If you are looking to buy paper mache crafts, you can check out our extensive collection and buy a gorgeous piece online. As we at Kashmirica, have pledged to bring exclusive Kashmiri goods at the fingertips of the global audience.

You can buy the finest variety of Kashmiri products from our online store. Ask for the best Pashmina Shawls, Salwar Kameez, Kaftans, Kurtis, Essential Oils, Carrier Oils, Wall Hangings, Rugs & Carpets, Paper Mache, Prayer Rugs, Kashmiri Foods, Kashmiri Dry Fruits, such as Kashmiri Walnuts, Kashmiri Almonds, Dried Apricots, as well as Kashmiri Spices and top superfoods such as Pure Shilajit, Organic Saffron, and top-rated Kashmiri Honey.

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What is a Pashmina? A Complete Overview

What is a Pashmina? A Complete Overview

People have various notions about Pashmina. Some think of it to be a goat, some a thread, some a form of embroidery. So ‘what is a pashmina’?

Well, Pashmina is a super fine quality of wool that comes from a particular species of goat. This wool is then used to make shawls and scarfs that go by the same name. Simply put, a Pashmina is a super soft and super warm luxury shawl that is indigenous to the beautiful valley of Kashmir.

While only a few have the eye for a true Pashmina, many believe that every shawl that comes from the Kashmir region qualifies as a Pashmina.

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Now that we have a general idea, let’s dig deeper and know this shawl better.

What is a Pashmina?

The Pashmina is made from the wool of a particular kind of goat that is native to Kashmir. This goat is called the ‘Changthangi’ goat or Capra Hircus or it is also popularly referred to as the ‘Pashmina goat’. The word Pashmina comes from the word ‘pashm’, which itself means soft wool.

The temperatures in some areas in Kashmir often fall as low as -40 degrees celsius during the winters. The Changthangi goat develops a special kind of wool to resist against such low temperatures. Later, when the spring season sets in, these goats shed their wool; which is then used in the making of a Pashmina.

A Pashmina Shawl is the perfect epitome of luxury, comfort and class. It is much desired by women all across the globe. 

What is the history of Pashmina?

There are various theories that suggest how the Pashmina originated. It is said that the 15th century ruler of Kashmir, Zain-ul-Abidin introduced pashmina to the world. Whereas, another theory suggests that a Persian Sufi named Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani who arrived in Kashmir with 700 Persian artisans sometime during the 14th century introduced the art of Pashmina. 

Even though the exact story of its origin can be a bit controversial, Kashmir has been an expert of the art for centuries and centuries.  

It is also said that the great French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte presented a Pashmina shawl to his wife Josephine. And the shawl impressed her so much that she is known to have owned many of them.

Before the 20th century, only royals would own a Pashmina. There are various royal families that are known to have spent fortunes on them. But, times eventually changed and industries evolved greatly. And his beautiful piece of art became accessible to everyone not just in India but in the rest of the world as well.

Through the years, the Pashmina has maintained its reputation as the most luxurious yet comfortable shawl that is known to man and yet somehow, it has evolved too. Centuries later, Pashmina is still known to be a status symbol and hasn’t lost its prestige at all. 

Pashmina and Cashmere: Same or Different?

The answer? Same, yet different! People often confuse between the two.

One thing that is different between these two is that- Pashmina is made from the wool that is obtained from the Changthangi goats. It is super fine and each of its fibres has a diameter of around 10 to 15 microns. Pashmina wool can only be spun by hand. Pashmina wool is also quite rare. 

Whereas, the wool for cashmere shawls can be obtained from any kind of goats and not just the Changthangi goats. It has a diameter of about 15 to 18 microns. This wool is super fine too but not as fine as the Pashmina wool. This is the major difference between Pashmina and Cashmere. Cashmere wool can be spun using machines. This means, cashmere wool can easily be found.

Although, nowadays, these two are often confused with each other. ‘Cashmere’ is, in fact, an Anglicised term for Pashmina. During the 18th century, various Europeans visited India and returned back to their countries with various Pashmina shawls as gifts. And instead of calling them ‘Pashmina’ they re-named them to ‘Cashmere’ (denoting the place where it belongs- Kashmir).

How is a Pashmina Shawl Made?

The way Pashmina shawls are woven hasn’t really changed since centuries. Till date, traditional methods are used in weaving a Pashmina. The process of weaving a Pashmina shawl is called ‘Wonun’ and the weaver weaving it is called ‘Wovur’.

This is how a Pashmina is Made: Process of Making Pashmina Shawl

First, the wool/ yarn is obtained.

Around 4 to 8 iron rods are already fixed on the ground. The wool yarn is first wound around these rods. The rods are usually spread across an area of 10 meters. A person has to walk across these rods multiple times while winding the yarn across them. This is how the warp gets made.

The yarn is then stretched and perfected.

It is then dried out in the sun and then wound again on wooden spindles.

Then, the yarn goes on the handloom where expert weavers weave it by hand.

Since the Pashmina wool is so fine that it cannot be spun using machines. Hence, each and every process that goes into making a Pashmina shawl is done using hands.

It takes a few days for a Pashmina shawl to be made.

After the wool is weaved into a beautiful shawl, an amazingly skilled embroiderer works his magic next. The shawl is then covered with beautiful, colorful embroidery. At the end of the embroidery process, the shawl is first washed and ironed before it reaches the stores to be sold.

What makes a Pashmina so expensive and special?

A Pashmina’s warmth is incomparable. Since the Changthangi goats need to survive extreme cold temperatures, they develop a thick fur which helps them in resisting the temperatures. This gives the Pashmina a warmth like no other! A Pashmina isn’t just known for its warmth but also for its softness and lightweightedness. Only someone who owns a Pashmina knows why all this craze surrounds it. 

Every time you step out wearing a Pashmina shawl, you don’t just have something that’ll keep you super warm but you’ll also make a style statement. A Pashmina can add oodles and oodles of grace to any outfit. 

Not to forget, with a Pashmina, you also own a beautiful piece of heritage and legacy that has been passed on from generations to generations. It is truly a timeless piece. 

What makes a Pashmina shawl or scarf so expensive is the process that goes behind it. Since everything is done using hands, it can take several days and in some cases months to craft a single shawl. Another factor that makes it expensive is the rarity of the wool. The artisans toiling hard to craft the perfect piece of Pashmina for their customers are also amazingly skilled and working in the industry for years. All of this makes a Pashmina shawl truly worth each penny! 

What is a Pashmina scarf?

A scarf or a stole that is made using the wool from the Pashmina or Changthangi goats can be called a Pashmina scarf.

What is a Pashmina wrap?

A shawl or a scarf that you can use during the winters and is made from the Pashmina wool can be called a Pashmina wrap. A Pashmina can be wrapped around in various styles.

What is a Pashmina scarf made of?

A Pashmina scarf is made from the wool of a type of goat called the Changthangi goat. The wool gets weaved into a beautiful scarf.

How to identify Real Pashmina?

Now that you know what is a Pashmina scarf and what is a Pashmina shawl, it is important to know whether the shawl/ scarf you want to buy is real or not. Here is how you tell whether a Pashmina is real or not:

  1. The Burn test: Take a thread from your shawl/ scarf and burn it. If it smells like burnt hair, the Pashmina is most likely real.
  2. The weave: Test a pashmina shawl under natural light. If you see irregular weaves, the Pashmina is real. Since a real Pashmina is handwoven, its weave will have some irregularities as opposed to unauthentic Pashminas woven using machines.
  3. Rubbing test: Rub the shawl using your fingers. If it generates tiny sparks, the Pashmina isn’t genuine.
  4. The Price: A real Pashmina comes at a price. If you find a vendor selling it at unbelievably low prices, don’t fall for it as the Pashmina being sold in this case isn’t real.
  5. Shine: Unauthentic pashminas usually exhibit a lot of shine. If the Pashmina looks shiny, ditch it and look for better vendors selling genuine ones.

Over to You

We hope this article cleared your doubts on ‘What is a Pashmina?’.When you decide to buy a Pashmina, remember all the hard work that goes into making one. Buy only from authentic sellers as there is a whole market dedicated to selling fake Pashmina shawls.

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The Story of Shahtoosh: World’s Most Expensive Fabric

The Story of Shahtoosh: World’s Most Expensive Fabric

Shahtoosh or shahtush or simply toosh, is a type of luxury shawl made from the most expensive fabric in the world. It is a Persian word which literally translates to ‘king of fine wools’.

NOTE: Buying & Selling of Shahtoosh is illegal. We do not sell or buy this fabric. This post about Shahtoosh is purely for information purposes.

This super soft and super warm shawl is handwoven in the valley of Kashmir. To own a shahtoosh scarf or shawl is to lighten your pockets by several thousand dollars! And a few decades ago, people happily did so.

But, what is it that makes this shawl so exquisite? That at one point, the most elite of the elite class of not just India but also the US as well as other countries boasted to have owned at least one of these; before it became illegal to own one.

Right from supermodels and actresses to other celebrities- the shahtoosh scarf was a prized possession among them all.

Now that we have an idea about the world’s most expensive fabric, let’s delve deeper and see what all the fuss is that surrounds this type of shawl and what makes it so special.

What is Shahtoosh?

Shahtoosh is the finest quality of fabric that is known to man. Each of its fibres is only about 7 to 10 microns and it is considered to be one-sixth of that of a human hair. This fabric is used to make luxury shawls and scarves, popularly known as shahtoosh shawls. 

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The fabric is procured from the underfur of a species of an Antelope; locally called the ‘Chiru’. The antelope is native to the Tibetan plateau. Chiru is a migratory animal that lives at super-high altitudes of about 5,000 meters and develops the ‘underfur’ in order to survive the extremely cold and harsh weather conditions. 

Back in the day, when shahtoosh shawls were legal, poachers would hunt down the Tibetan antelope and slaughter it to obtain its fur. 

What is a Shahtoosh Shawl?

A shawl that is made using the shahtoosh fabric is a shahtoosh shawl. This shawl is super popular throughout the world for its warmth, comfort and softness. It was once an object of desire for people across the globe. People have claimed to be addicted to the impressive beauty that it has and have described it as ‘nothing else in the world’.

For decades, Kashmir has been the only place where this shawl is expertly manufactured. In fact, expert weavers had careers dedicated only to weaving these shawls.

The Origin of Shahtoosh

The origin of the shawl is believed to date back to the 16th century, during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar. It is believed that he had a great passion for these shawls and was the owner of quite a few of them. In fact, shawl factories flourished and became a major source of income in Kashmir during the Mughal rule. That is, interestingly, also when the wool received its name -‘Shahtoosh’.

Until about Shah Jahan’s rule (1666), the toosh shawls were reserved for use only by the royals. Later, with changing times, the shawls became accessible to the commoners as well. The shawls soon gained popularity and became a status symbol for the elite class around the world.

Thus, the trade of the shahtoosh began and influenced the market for a long, long time. These were also traditionally gifted at weddings back in the day.

Types of Toosh Shawls

Basically, there are three types of this shawl. The types are categorized by the fabric used. They are:

  • 16 Dani or Shurah Dani: This is the 100% pure toosh shawl; made only with the toosh fabric
  • 12 Dani or Bah Dani: This type comprises of 75% toosh mixed with 25% pashmina
  • 8 Dani or Aeth Dani: This type is a combination of 50% toosh and 50% pashmina

How Long Does it Take to Make a Shahtoosh?

The shahtoosh shawls are only handwoven by the master artisans of Kashmir. The weaving of this shawl is a traditional art and many weavers are only dedicated only to exclusively weaving these shawls. The shawls are traditionally woven making the use of handlooms.

Since the fabric is super fine, machines cannot be used and everything needs to be done using hands. As a result of the extensive process, it takes a weaver anywhere from a month to a year to craft a single toosh shawl.

What makes the Shahtoosh so Expensive?

For manufacturing a shawl/ scarf, the process that goes behind it is quite labor-some and lengthy. First, the fur is obtained from the antelopes. The antelopes are hunted for this purpose. After the fur is obtained, weavers in Kashmir make use of handlooms to weave the fabric.

Every process right from obtaining the wool to manufacturing a shawl is done using hands by amazingly skilled craftsmen. 

To manufacture just one shawl, around 350 grams of wool/ fur is needed. One Tibetan antelope gives about 125 grams of wool. Hence, to make just one shawl, wool from 3 antelopes is required! This is one of the major reasons that makes it expensive.

But, this isn’t the only reason why the shahtoosh is so expensive. Another factor is its majestic feel. The fabric is so super soft that it is incomparable with any other kind of fabric. It is known to give its owner a taste and feel of royalty.

The shawl is extremely lightweight that it can be passed through a wedding ring! It is so light that you can hardly feel anything around your shoulders. Not just its lightness but its warmth is incomparable too. Legend has it that the shawl is so warm that it can be used to hatch pigeon eggs. 

The majestic appeal, feel and warmth of the shawl has made celebrities and other rich people around the world pay thousands of dollars to own this beautiful garment. Some celebrities became so addicted to these shawls that they have been reported to have owned multiple pieces.

Some even claim that the shawls became so dear to them that they would never leave the house without their favorite shawl. 

Shahtoosh Scarf Price in India

The scarf costs lakhs of rupees. It would be generally around 3-10 lakhs in cost. Saying that it is banned and illegal to buy and sell shahtoosh. While a toosh shawl combined with pashmina costs less than a pure toosh shawl, it is still quite expensive.

When these shawls were legal, shahtoosh scarf price in India for an aeth dani (50% pashmina with 50% toosh)  or bah dani (25% pashmina with 75% toosh) began somewhere around 1 lakh and for a 100% toosh shawl, it went up to at least 2-3 lakh rupees! 

The price went almost double for buying a toosh shawl at places like the US and Europe.

Why is Shahtoosh Wool Banned?

The UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) banned the trade of the Chiru wool products in 1975. It was banned globally in 1975.

The Indian government put a ban on trade of Shahtoosha in 1991. Then, the J&K government announced a ban on the manufacture and trade of the Shahtoosh wool in the early 2000s. After several court hearings and many years later, the law was finally enforced.  

Around 20,000 Tibetan antelopes or Chirus needed to be killed every year for the production of the toosh shawls. As a result, their population declined significantly. From around a million antelopes, the number came down to approx 75,000 by the end of the 20th century. The Chiru became an endangered species. All these reasons contributed to the ban of the Shahtoosh trade.

The sale and possession of a shahtoosh shawl is now illegal in most of the countries and is a punishable offence. 

The Chiru population has now stabilized and is thought to be increasing. Almost 15,000 people had been employed in the trade when the shahtoosh wool was legal.

The livelihood of thousands of families depended on the Shahtoosh wool trade in Kashmir. The weavers were later provided with other alternative ways of earning. But they are rather insignificant.

Since so many people depended on the trade, a parliamentary panel requested that the ban on the Shahtoosh wool trade be lifted to revive the industry as well as the employment opportunities. The traders welcomed this proposal with open arms. However, the request was not accepted and the trade of Shahtoosh shawls still remains illegal.

Any person who infringes the law can be subjected to a hefty fine and may also be sentenced to several years in jail.

Over to You

‘Shahtoosh’ is now a word that is talked about with much hush hush. But despite the ban, the demand for the toosh shawls and scarves still remains high in various western countries. 

Although we don’t know what the future holds for the Shahtoosh Shawl, a great alternative to the Shahtoosh is the Pashmina Shawl – one of the softest, warmest and lightest shawls in the world which is legal as well.

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A-Z Guide on Kashmiri Embroidery

A-Z Guide on Kashmiri Embroidery

Just as its beauty, Kashmir’s history is unique. The handicrafts of Kashmir are as breathtaking as the lush green valleys it hosts. The beautiful art of Kashmiri embroidery is as old as the modern Muslim culture of the place.

The first thing that comes to our minds when we think of Kashmiri garments is the intricate embroidery that adorns them. Whether it is pashmina shawls, dress materials, kaftans, kurtas/ kurtis, sarees or even bags, the signature Kashmiri embroidery is what sets all Kashmiri apparel apart.

It is also popularly known as ‘Kashida’ embroidery, kashidkari in full. That’s for the Kashmiris though. The embroidery seeks inspiration from nature all around. Popular designs include flowers, leaves, trees, blossoms, creepers etc.

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If this ancient art intrigues you as well, then read on. In this article, I will give you deeper insights into the Kashidakari, or Kashmiri embroidery and answer all your questions related to it.

History of Kashmiri Embroidery

The Kashida is one of the oldest forms of embroidery in India. It is a centuries’ old art. The history of embroidery in Kashmir can be traced back to as early as the 15th century. However, it was during the Mughal rule (around 16th century) that the textile industry in Kashmir saw a major surge. 

The Mughal emperors are known to have patronized it. It was during this time that Kashmiri shawls and other Kashmiri garments started becoming popular around the world. Similarly, the Kashmiri embroidery too started shaping up and became an important part of various Kashmiri textiles. And since then, its demand has grown multifolds.

Types of Kashmiri Embroidery

History tells us that Art came to Kashmir from Central Asia. It traveled with Muslim traders who entered the valley through the Silk route. It evolved with time and artisans were able to mix and match various art forms they had learned from the traders from abroad.

So, today there are many types of embroidery in Kashmir. But, the most popular ones include: 

The Aari or Crewel Embroidery

Even though its origin is unknown, it can be traced back to as early as the medieval period. This kind of embroidery is locally known as Zalakdozi. It is a very old technique but also very popular. The crewel embroidery makes use of a pointed crochet or an ‘aari’ as the needle. 

This form of embroidery can be done on cotton, wool, silk, velvet as well as other fabrics. This embroidery can be commonly seen on curtains, drapes and other upholstery, bedding, dress materials etc. Woolen or art silk thread is used for this particular embroidery. Mostly, the chain stitch is used for the crewel embroidery. 

Popular designs for this embroidery include flowers, blossoms, leaves, creepers etc. It has two types:

  • 1-ply embroidery: It makes use of 1-ply woolen thread. It is cheaper but less durable.
  • 2-ply embroidery: It makes use of 2-ply woolen thread. This is more expensive than 1-ply but is more durable.

The 2-ply woolen thread is more commonly used.

The Process: First, the design is drawn on a perforated sheet by an expert tracer. Then, this sheet is laid on the fabric and either chalk or charcoal powder is applied to it to trace the design. After that, in order to make the tracing more visible, some oil is added to it. After the design gets traced onto the fabric, the outlines of the design are drawn with the use of a wooden pen.

The skilled embroiderer, also known as zalakdoz in Kashmir then proceeds to embroider the fabric. The time taken to finish the product depends upon the fabric and the size of embroidery to be done. It usually takes a few days. This is how the crewel or Aari Kashmiri embroidery is done.

The Sozni Embroidery 

This form of embroidery is quite different from the aari embroidery. A needle is used in sozni embroidery. The Sozni embroidery can commonly be found on shawls, jackets, dress materials etc. The work that goes into this embroidery is very intricate. 

Popular motifs for this embroidery are abstract geometric designs, paisley patterns. The Sozni embroidery is exclusive only to Kashmir and cannot be found anywhere else. The satin-stitch is used for making this type of embroidery.

The Process: The designer (or Naqash) first begins by drawing a design on a paper. The second step involved in the procedure is a very important step. A specialist wood carver then carves the design out of a wooden block.

With the use of the wood that has been carved, the design is then stamped onto the shawl. After this, an expert embroiderer embroiders the design. This is how the Sozni Kashmiri embroidery is made. 

The Tilla Embroidery

Another type of Kashmiri embroidery is the ‘Tilla embroidery’. This kind of embroidery is done with golden or silver threads. It is mostly done on the Kashmiri traditional garment called Phiran. But now, it can also be commonly seen on shawls and sarees. The beautiful tilla embroidery adorns ethnic wear and gives it a royal touch. 

This classic type of embroidery is a true epitome of grace and class. Initially, real gold and silver were used for the embroidery. Only the rich could afford this luxury back in the day; making it super popular among the royals. However, now, just gold and silver-colored threads are used. 

The Process: First, the designer makes a design on a tracing paper. After the design is made, the trace paper is carefully kept on the fabric. A duster is then dipped in either blue or white ink (blue ink for lighter fabrics and white ink for darker fabrics) is moved all over the fabric. The design, thus, gets transferred to the fabric.

An expert Tilla artist then works his magic on the fabric. The tilla thread is used to make the embroidery and then a cotton thread is used to fasten it. All of this is done with a special needle. This is how the Tilla Kashmiri embroidery is made. 

The Amli Embroidery

The Amli embroidery makes use of multicolored threads. It is relatively a new type of embroidery. This embroidery is mostly seen on the kani and jamevar shawls.

The Process: First, the design is drawn on a paper. Before the design is transferred, the shawl is first nicely smoothened out. Then it is transferred onto the shawl with the help of charcoal or other colored powder. The design is then embroidered using multicolored threads.

Now that we know about the types of embroidery commonly used in Kashmir, let us get into more specifics.

Which stitches are used in Kashmiri embroidery?

Many different stitches are used in the Kashmiri embroidery. The Kashmiri embroidery stitches are as follows:

  • The Chain Stitch: This technique involves creating a loop of stitches which ends up looking like a chain and hence the name, chain stitch.
  • The Satin Stitch: Another one of the Kashmiri embroidery stitches is the Satin Stitch. This kind of stitch is usually used to cover large surfaces.
  • The Stem Stitch: This type of stitch is mostly used to embroider the boundaries of a design/ motif.
  • The Darning Stitch: This method involves making rows of straight stitches which are placed next to each other.
  • The buttonhole or vata chikan stitch: This form of stitching is used to cover or fill larger areas.
  • The Herringbone Stitch: This stitch is used for making borders.

What are the different Kashmiri embroidery motifs?

Mostly, nature forms the basis for Kashmiri embroidery motifs. Since Kashmir is so beautifully blessed with abundant natural beauty, the embroidery artists need not look anywhere else for inspiration. 

Popular motifs include flowers like lilies, tulips, saffron and lotuses, leaves, twigs, fruits like grapes, apples, mangoes, almonds and cherries and various birds like parrots, woodpeckers and kingfishers. Geometric designs and paisley patterns are also quite common. These elements together form the base for Kashmiri embroidery designs. 

What are the different Kashmiri embroidery designs?

Various Kashmiri embroidery designs include floral designs, animal designs, hunting designs etc.

Some interesting facts on Kashmiri Embroidery:

  • All embroiderers use ‘nyath’ which acts as protection to their fingers. They are leather finger caps or thimbles. Without the use of these, the artists can develop holes in their fingers.
  • Men in Kashmir are known to do the finest embroidery.
  • Every piece after its embroidered gets washed.

Over to You 

Thus, it can be said that Kashmiri embroidery is an art that requires utmost dedication, patience and precision. Initially, only men are involved in the embroidery process in Kashmir. A son inherited this art from his father. But now, since the last few years, women have started participating too. 

It takes years and years’ worth of practice to master this art. Most men who are involved in this profession usually begin practising early, around the age of 9 or 10 and then work up their way to expertise. It is due to their hard work that this traditional art form is still so well-preserved and recognized all around the world.

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