View This Beautiful Collection of fine Antique Shawls

Antique Shawls – Throughout the 19th century, Kerman a province in southern Iran was celebrated for its exquisite Persian / Kerman shawls rather than for carpet weaving. These antique shawls – which are beautiful, ethereal works of art – were complex in their use of traditional Persian floral patterns, French red roses known as Gol Farang, Boteh (paisley), Sarri Boteh (cypress like paisley), tree of life, vase, nightingale, and garden design.

The tight overall pattern and fineness of the weave is complimented by a delicate and harmonious color palette. Not surprisingly, the primary designs of Kerman carpets were adapted from these shawls. And when the growing demand for oriental rug production increased these experienced weavers turned their attention and talents to the carpet weaving.

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Antique Persian Esfahan Shawl Nazmiyal

Antique Persian Esfahan Shawl (sold)

Shawls Around the World

Shawls drape loosely over the head or can be work draped over just the shoulders. There is no denying their beauty and the skill of the workmanship, but shawls are more than a piece of clothing. In many cultures around the world, shawls have a special meaning in religious and secular life.

The word shawl originates from the area of Hamedan, Iran. It is thought to have originated in the 14th century and referred to pashmina goats, or Kashmir (cashmere). The wool of these goats is extremely soft, warm, and strong. It is said that the cashmere shawl industry began when Sayeed Ali Hamadani gave a pair of cashmere socks to the Sultan. The Sultan was impressed, and it was suggested that they begin a shawl-weaving industry using this wool.

This is the story of how the pashmina shawl industry began, but it also suggests that shawls were a part of the culture before this time. The first use of shawls is attributed to the Assyrians as early as the 25th century BC. Kashmir was an area where many goods passed between India and Persia, and so it was with the fine tradition of shawl weaving.

India, Persia, and Turkey are known for the beautiful and colorful shawl designs. Some of the most expensive shawls in the world are created from the under fleece of the Tibetan antelope. They are called “shahtoosh” and are so fine that they can be passed through a small finger ring.

The invention of the Jacquard looms in the early 19th century allowed Indian weavers to adopt a wide range of gorgeous, sinuous floral designs. These fine wool shawls would soon become a luxury item in Europe and throughout the world. A finely woven shawl became a fashionable wrap for French and English women of the elite by the 18th century. You can find many beautiful examples in portraits of the time.

The boteh, or paisley design, cypress trees, and other familiar Persian motifs began to appear in Indian shawls. These symbols have significant meanings. The boteh is the eternal flame of life or seed. The cypress tree represents longevity. In earlier shawls, the designs were rather sparse, but as time went on, they became more densely packed. The designs also became more detailed. For instance, rather than just the outline of a tree, you began to see leaves, fruit, and birds within its branches.

Shawls protect the person from the hot sun and elements. They are also used for modesty among those who practice Islam. Prayer shawls have also been a part of many religions going back centuries, such as the prayer shawl, or tallit, worn by Jewish men. Some cultures incorporate shawls into their national folk dress, such as Andalusia and certain parts of Latin America.

Shawls are a traditional part of many cultures around the world. They are loved by many, and great effort has gone into creating artwork that is simply breathtaking. We hope that you enjoy our collection of fine shawls from around the world. Perhaps, you would like to make one part of your collection for those special occasions.

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