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Shawl
Place of Origin: India or Pakistan, Kashmir region
Date: perhaps 1820-1840
Object Name: Costume
Materials: Wool with silk embroidery
Dimensions: H. 68 1/2 in x W. 62 1/2 in, H. 174.0 cm x W. 158.7 cm
Credit Line: Transfer from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Carlotta Mabury
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Textiles
Object Number: 1993.85
On Display: No

Description

Label: Embroidered shawls from Kashmir, though less famous than those with elaborate and colorful woven designs, are remarkable in their own right. The dense embroidery on this shawl’s borders, in a combination of stem stitch and other simple straight stitches, is meticulous, intricate, and highly creative. The embroiderers made an effort to align their needlework with the twill weave of the cloth. Only close looking at the patterns and their reverse, where the stitching is visible, reveals that the scenes are not woven.

The figural design shows scenes of hunting, music-playing, courtly entertainment, and military and other processions. It includes Sikh warriors (Akalis), Hindu divinities such as the goddess Durga and the monkey hero-god Hanuman, as well as motifs from the Indian and Persian visual repertoires. None of the figures or scenes here appears to be repeated on any of the four borders. 

The beautiful darning done to repair tears in this shawl over the course of its functional life indicates that it was clearly valued by its owners.
Label: Embroidered shawls from Kashmir, though less famous than those with elaborate and colorful woven designs, are remarkable in their own right. The dense embroidery on this shawl’s borders, in a combination of stem stitch and other simple straight stitches, is meticulous, intricate, and highly creative. The embroiderers made an effort to align their needlework with the twill weave of the cloth. Only close looking at the patterns and their reverse, where the stitching is visible, reveals that the scenes are not woven.

The figural design shows scenes of hunting, music-playing, courtly entertainment, and military and other processions. It includes Sikh warriors (Akalis), Hindu divinities such as the goddess Durga and the monkey hero-god Hanuman, as well as motifs from the Indian and Persian visual repertoires. None of the figures or scenes here appears to be repeated on any of the four borders. 

The beautiful darning done to repair tears in this shawl over the course of its functional life indicates that it was clearly valued by its owners.