Pashmina - Brief Background
As a world famous art of beatific dimensions, Pashmina wool fabrication owes much to the efforts of the medieval king of Kashmir - Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin , popularly known as “Bud-Shah” or “the Great King”.
A visionary that he was, Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin popularised the technique of Pashmina production, exclusively , the shawl-making industry. He introduced master craftsmen from Central Asia and this led to diffusing of this art in the Kashmiri lore.
Kashmiri pashmina shawls were in fashion in the times of Napoleon, who is said to have presented one to his wife. From the noble courts of Paris and St. Petersburg to the regal crowds of Bond street, the fine elegance of pashmina was widely appreciated.
Although the traditional manufacturing is done in Kashmir and Nepal, over the centuries, Pashmina has become almost symmetric with the quality of Kashmiri wool, resulting in an upscale rise in export levels.
Historically, owing to the similarity of climatic conditions, goats producing Pashmina have been reared in Mongolia as well. The rearing has been and still is being done commercially.
In winters, the Changpa breed of Capra Hircus goats grow Pashmina and shed it, in quantities of 4-8 ounces, around Spring, every year. These fibres are then gathered, treated and woven to create the elegant Pashmina shawls, stoles, and other apparel.
There is a fine difference in terms of fibre diameter between the generic fibre and the pashmina fibre, with the Pashmina quality being a bit finer than the generic one.
On account of the amount of precision work and crafting that goes into making Pashmina products, the prices are high and the current years have witnessed an upsurge in the market.