Kashmiri embroidery which is also called as the Kashida embroidery is a unique form of art, staying true to the beauty of paradise state. The exquisite needlework and thread work that involves a single long stitch to make the design is indeed one of the most distinguished and beautiful forms of embroidery. Only a few expert artisans and craftsmen were able to pull off the gorgeously intricate handcrafted Kashida embroidery which required an eagle’s eye and extreme patience.
The practise of Kashida embroidery began in the early 11th century at the small cottage level, however, over the years, it grew and expanded with the Mughal nobility taking over the princely states. The aristocracy and royalty further pushed the precious Kashida embroidery to become one of most elite forms of embroidery. In the wake of growth and development, Kashmiri craftsmen started to experiment in clothing and garments by stitching unique salwar kameez, which is a staple for Kashmiri women.
The most interesting feature of this embroidery is that it only requires maximum two or three stitches to produce elaborate exclusive designs. It can be of different types like chain stitch, satin stitch, slanted darn stitch, herringbone stitch and the stem stitch. The base of the fabric which is generally used is either silk or wool or cotton, however, since wool is commonly found in this region, it is preferably used. Pashmina, which is the finest, lightest and most expensive wools in the world is exported in large quantities from Kashmir. Pashmina employs the beautiful art of Kashida embroidery and hence it is considered to be one of the most coveted items in this region.
In the earlier days, Kasmiri embroidery was usually created on the pastel color backgrounds like pale yellow, beige or blush pink. The artisans aimed at blending the color of the thread with the base color to create a stunning three-dimensional effect. Brighter colors such as pink, blue, red have become quite popular these days and therefore, craftsmen use them for both the base and thread.
Kasmiri embroidery takes its inspiration from the nature and features popular designs like a maple leaf, twigs, branches, trees, lotus blooms etc. There are different distinctive forms of Kashmiri handmade embroidery like Kashir Jaal, a fine network of embroidery generally woven on the neckline of garments, Jaama, a thickly embroidered pattern intertwining trees, branches and flowers. Jaal, a fine delicate network of trees and flowering vines motifs. Sozni, Papier Mache, Shaldaar etc. are a few other popular Kashmiri designs which are embroidered and popular amongst the people all over.
Kashmiri shawls are undoubtedly one of the most commonly found garments with this type of needlework that involves precision and art. Kashmiri embroidery can be used to decorate many different types of garments like shawls, sarees, salwar kameez, jutis etc. Due to prolonged col climate, shawls have garnered demand all over in the world and have become the must-have ethnic winter accessory.
Kashmiri sarees have recently become the “it” fashion statement globally. They are generally made of wool or silk fabric with distinctive embroidery and a stunning thread work all over. The nature-inspired designs and heavy embroidery indeed exudes quite a unique look over the traditional Kashmiri garb.
How To Style?
Traditionally Kashmiri women love to go all ethnic by dressing up in the embroidered salwar kameez in rich bright colors. To complete the look, they wear embroidered jutis and shawls to create a fun quirky look.
Silver oxidized jewelry is one of the most popular and in-demand amongst the women clan in Kashmir and other parts too. There is a heavy export of silver antique earrings, silver bracelets, oxidized necklaces etc. You can amp up your look with embroidered ensembles and add graceful silver jewellery to ace with grace.