A private collection of Kashmir shawls to be sold at Christie's
May 6, 2019: Kashmir is known for its aesthetic beauty, staggering culture and handmade pashmina shawls. Christie's brings perhaps the most significant collection of shawls ever to be offered at auction. Dating back from the 17th to the late 19th century, these hand-woven, decorated Kashmir shawls were created as items of luxury. Traditionally worn by men and women, these treasured heirlooms were handed down in the family for generations, prized for the very fine quality of wool used and their intricate embroidered decoration. The high level of craftsmanship achieved by Kashmiri weavers remains unmatched anywhere in the world.
Known in Kashmir as 'pashmina', the shawls are hand-woven from the softest, warmest, light-weight fabric spun from the fine under-hair of high-altitude goats. The weaving of this fine fabric into shawls is thought to have been done in Kashmir since the 1st century AD and remains in practice even today.
Highlights include an early 19thcentury square shawl with a remarkable and unusual pattern which combines the stripes with the central moon design (estimate £7,000-£10,000). Moon shawls are known to have been modelled after a type of 16th century carpet from the Ottoman court in Cairo. Striped examples were especially valued by members of the royal court of Jaipur in Rajasthan. Moon shawls were also very popular in Western markets, especially with fashionable ladies in Britain in the late 18th and 19th centuries, to be worn as accessories with their gowns. Further highlights include a 17th century Mughal long shawl border fragment comprising eleven singular floral motifs woven on an ivory ground.
Comprising 85 lots with prices ranging from £1,000 – 12,000, the online sale will be open for bidding between June 11-18.