Book highlights handcrafted carpets, rugs and mats of Kashmir
New Delhi, Nov 18 (PTI) Textile researcher Promil Pande explores the age-old traditional craft practices of Kashmir, particularly a variety of floor coverings, in her illustrated book.
“Floor Coverings from Kashmir: Kaleen Carpets, Namdah, Gabba, Ari Rugs and Wagoo Mats” details the various types of floor coverings created in Jammu and Kashmir, tracing their origin in the case of Wagoo mats from the Indus Valley Civilization to the reign of King Zain-ul-Abidin in the 15th century in the case of pashmina shawls.
With the shawl weavers later transferring their skills to carpets, the author talks about the history, craft production networks and cultural context of Kashmir, where these exquisite handwoven floor coverings are created.
Published by Niyogi Books, “Floor Coverings from Kashmir” also traces the weaving of hand-knotted rugs back to the Pazyryk carpet made 2,000 years ago (now in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg).
Weaving the story of carpet production in India, Pande explains the role of the Mughal emperors who set up imperial karkhanas or workshops, where master weavers were commissioned to weave rugs for the royal palaces.
The gradual shift from the predominant Persian style during the reign of Jahangir to a more Mughal or flower style during the reign of Shah Jahan is explained, as is the patronage of weavers by Rajput rulers in their kingdoms.
The London Exhibition of 1851 introduced Indian carpet weaving to a larger global audience, along with the exquisite pashmina shawls, also known as param narams, which led to their becoming a highly sought after luxury item of attire in Europe.