The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, November 19, 2018

Bruce Museum Highlights Its Collection of Kashmir Shawls in Exhibition
Detail of European Shawl, ca. 1860. Wool. Gift of J.J. Hills, Collection of Bruce Museum 13664

GREENWICH, CT.- The Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, recently unwrapped a new exhibition this winter that highlights its collection of beautifully woven cashmere shawls. On view through February 28, 2011, Kashmir Shawls from the Bruce Museum Collection features a display of ten outstanding shawls selected from the Museum’s international textile collection. Most date from the early to mid-19th century and several were given to the Bruce Museum by Greenwich families that passed them down from one generation to the next. Some of the shawls were produced in Kashmir, India, and the others came from European manufacturers.

The word “cashmere” derives from an 18th-century English spelling of Kashmir, which is the politically tumultuous, northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Predominantly Muslim, Kashmir is also home to a significant Hindu population. The region is known for its production of finely woven and pieced shawls, an art that was practiced as early as the 6th century BCE. However, it is commonly held that shawls of the type shown here were woven beginning in the 16th century.

Cashmere shawls are derived from the soft undercoat of the double-fleeced cashmere goat (Capra hircus laniger), which naturally sheds its winter coat every spring. The fiber is also known as pashm (Persian for wool) or pashmina (a Persian/Hindi word derived from pashm). Once the wool of the goat has been collected, the coarse protective fibers are separated from the soft underlying hairs. The resulting material is then ready to be dyed and converted into fabric. As the demand for cashmere has increased and innovations in textile manufacture have developed, cashmere farmers have resorted to using a coarse comb which pulls tufts of hair from the goat’s coat rather than just relying on the collection of the sheds. Today, most cashmere goats are combed or shorn of their fleece, and then the wool fiber is de-haired, or separated using a mechanical process that separates the coarse hairs from the fine hair.

Most Kashmiri shawls were adorned with botehs, or buta. Boteh, literally meaning “flower,” refers to the motif of a tightly-packed pyramid of flowers above a vase. A kidney-shaped teardrop, the boteh is believed by scholars to be a fusion of a stylized pine, fern, or cypress tree. While the motif originated as plant-inspired, in Europe the design was thought to be a protective charm to ward off demons.

In the early 18th century, as the British East India Company began engaging in regular trade with the Indian subcontinent and China, soldiers returned from the colonies with cashmere shawls. Originally the weavings were worn by men in Kashmir, but once imported to England and Scotland the shawls immediately became a fashion statement for wealthy ladies. As Josephine Bonaparte began to sport “les cachemires,” the trend expanded through France and across the ocean to America. The shawls, however, were astronomically expensive. A biographer of Sir Walter Scott records the bridal trousseau presented to Scott’s French bride in 1797, including a Kashmir shawl that cost 50 guineas (about $100), a huge sum at the time. The high costs of imported shawls encouraged European textile manufacturers to imitate Kashmiri designs, sacrificing quality for low costs.

In the early 19th century, when weavers of the town of Paisley, Scotland, began manufacturing shawls en masse, the boteh became known as “paisley.” Scotland took weaving from a cottage industry to an industrialized process with the advent of the jacquard loom, a mechanical loom invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1804 that simplifies the process of manufacturing textiles with complex patterns. The fashion for paisley shawls first peaked in Europe around 1800, and by the mid-19th century it had spread throughout America.

The Bruce Museum | Greenwich | Kashmir Shawls |

Today's News

December 24, 2010

Pera Museum Presents Works by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera from the Gelman Collection

Exhibition of Forbidden City Treasures Goes on View at Metropolitan Museum in February

Christie's Celebrates American Artistry and Craftsmanship with Exceptional Offerings

In Its Inaugural Year, artMRKT San Francisco, Aims to Be a Premiere International Art Fair

Electronic Info Dominates George W. Bush's Archive, 20 Times the Clinton Administration's

Majestic Sculpture on View in New York City to be Auctioned at Naples Winter Wine Festival

The Museo del Prado Publishes First Multi-Interactive, Online Video Relating to Art

Bertoia's Auction Chalks up $1.6 Million in Sales of Fine Toys, Trains and Christmas Antiques

That's Kate Middleton? Critics Slam Commemorative Wedding Coin Issued by the Royal Mint

A Group of Forty Spanish Artists Demand that the Chillida Leku Museum Remains Open

In New Commitment, Polymer to Break New Ground at Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin

Bruce Museum Highlights Its Collection of Kashmir Shawls in Exhibition

Los Angeles Downtown Art Walk Announces Appointment of New Executive Director

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Presents Agents of Change: What Follows Will Follow II

South Carolina Archaeologists Say Confederate Wreck Found

Artist Alison Elizabeth Taylor Inlays Classic Technique into Contemporary Vocabulary

Field of View: First Solo Exhibition of Eelco Brand in Cologne On View at Gallery [DAM]

Museum of the Moving Image Announces Full Schedule of Screenings and Special Events for its Grand Re-opening

Goddess of Love Emerges into Foaming Cypriot Row

Display Showcases Two Key Smithsonian Figures

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- TEFAF New York Fall 2018 opens to strong attendance and robust sales

2.- Christie's announces auction of Magnificent Jewels and the concurrent Jewels Online Auction

3.- French court finds Jeff Koons guilty of plagiarism

4.- Papers of the exiled Stuart kings published online for the first time

5.- New exhibition explores relationship between British and Russian royal dynasties

6.- Wes Anderson presents box of 'treasures' from Viennese vaults

7.- Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies present...The Dark Side of Hollywood

8.- Hopper, de Kooning, Gorky and Stella hit new auction records in New York

9.- Old Master? Cave paintings from 40,000 years ago are world's earliest figurative art

10.- Cat mummies, animal statues discovered in Egypt sarcophagi

Related Stories

Bruce Museum Acquires Sculpture by Gaston Lachaise

Exhibition of Full Size Photographs of Abraham Lincoln to Open at the Bruce Museum

2,000 Years of Geography and Mapping at the Bruce Museum

Art, Travel, and Modernity Featured in New Exhibition at the Bruce Museum

28th Annual Bruce Museum Outdoor Arts Festival will Take Place in October

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

Check out for a range of beautifully designed online slot games.

Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful