Kashmiri Embroidery

EMBROIDERY OF KASHMIR

Embroidery has been an imperative differentiation between the artisans of the subcontinent and the rest of the world. Many places in Pakistan play a unique role encompassing some of the best embroidery artisans in the country but heaven on earth has an extra spice added and stored in beautiful Kashmir.

Kashmiri embroidery, better known as “Kashida Embroidery”, is a unique and extraordinary art form. The magnificent and exquisite needle and thread work that involves only a single long stitch to make an elegant design is indeed one of the most distinguished and fascinating forms of embroidery. Only a few expert craftsmen and artisans achieved and accomplished the gorgeously complex and intricate handcrafted Kashida Embroidery, which requires sharp sight and extreme tolerance and patience.

History of Kashmiri Embroidery

The tradition and custom of Kashida Embroidery began in the 11th century at a small, cottage level; however, over the years, it developed and expanded with the Mughals taking over the princely states. The ruling class and royalty further pushed the invaluable and precious Kashida Embroidery to become one of the most elite and distinct forms of embroidery. At the start of growth and development, Kashmiri artisans began to experiment with clothing and garments by stitching and tailoring unique Shalwar Kameez, which became a staple and prime objective for Kashmiri women.

How is Kashmiri embroidery done?

Kashmir has exposed itself to many treasures in recent times, and the availability of some of the most exclusive raw materials is one of its finest qualities. The most interesting attribute of this embroidery is that it only requires only a maximum of 2 or 3 stitches to create complex and intricate designs. Designs that would usually take other embroidery styles a lot more than that.  It can be a chain stitch, satin stitch, herringbone pattern, or the stem stitch. Silk, wool, or cotton is mostly used as the base of the cloth or fabric, as the texture allows for more ease, but since wool is commonly produced and found in this region, it is ideally used.

From Kashmir, Pashmina is exported as it is the lightest, best quality, and finest, most expensive wool in the world. Pashmina enhances the beauty of the Kashida Embroidery, and therefore it is considered one of the most desired items in the region.

Artisans usually take inspiration when it comes to creating a beautiful work of art, and in Kashmir, the artisans take inspiration from nature itself. Hence the most popular designs like a maple leaf, branches of trees, etc., are used in the embroidery patterns. The most easily found and famous item is Kashmiri shawls that follow the intricate designs of nature with absolute precision.