Embroidered Kashmir Shawls

Kashmir shawl, c. 1855. Wool with silk thread embroidery. Kashmir shawl, c. 1855. Wool with silk thread embroidery. Copyright Victoria and Albert Museum, London, acc. no. 0809(IS).

Embroidered Kashmir shawls come from the Jammu and Kashmir region of the northwestern Indian subcontinent. Kashmir shawls can come in a variety of different ground materials, which range from a very fine to a coarse woollen cloth.

Basically there are two types of Kashmir shawls, the kani shawl, which has a loom-woven design (kani is the name of the wooden spool used for weaving), and the sozni shawl, which is a needle (and not a hook [ari]) embroidered shawl made with (predominantly) small stem stitches and satin stitches.

Traditionally this type of shawl is made from various forms of local wool, which was made into pashmina, raffal or shahtush wool cloth. However, by the end of the twentieth century many different types of wool, even synthetic cloth, were being embroidered and sold as ‘true’ Kashmir shawls.

The embroidery on a shawl may be carried out in different parts, such as the borders, corners, centre, all over, scattered all over, and so forth.

See also: Kashmir shawl.


  • KALE, Smita (2011). Kashmir to Kanyakumari Indian Embroidery: State by State Embroidery of India, Bloomington: Author House, pp. 18-19.
  • NAIK, Shailaja D. (2014). Traditional Embroideries of India, New Delhi: A.P.H. Publishing Corporation, pp. 75-78.

V&A online catalogue (retrieved 14 August 2020).


Last modified on Friday, 14 August 2020 18:48