Shawl with boteh

Shawl with boteh


2/2 twill tapestry weave, double interlocked: wool, possibly pashmina

Overall: 325 x 136.5 cm (127 15/16 x 53 3/4 in.)

Gift of Mrs. Arthur Loesser 1952.190



Thousands of luxurious shawls imported from Kashmir, India, were status symbols that European-manufactured imitations could not equal. Those woven in Paisley, Scotland, gave rise to the popular term paisley. Their representation in portraits records the evolution of shawl fashions, which helps to date surviving examples. The coveted quality of Kashmir shawls was achieved with luxurious fine goat hair woven in twill tapestry to form small colorful blossoms. Such shawls are lightweight, supple, and warm. A plethora of blossoms arranged in small vases on stands form the large paisley or boteh motifs, while smaller versions enliven the sides of the field. Such floral displays evolved from blossoming plants possibly in 16th-century India.

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