Kaschmirschal (Detail)

Cashmere shawl (detail)

France(?), ca. 1825
Wool and silk
Jacquard woven, twill 2/2: length 333 cm, width 142 cm, fringe 8 cm
Inv. 1954.88.

3648px x 4590px
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The original Indian Kashmir shawl was woven from the wool of the Tibetan goat and the pattern was often embroidered. The garment was introduced to France and made fashionable by the Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon I. The subsequent demand led to shawls being woven in more and more variations of the classical palmette pattern in India and shortly afterwards in Europe as well. Here the weft is in four colours and the pattern weft consists of eight further colours woven into it, exemplifying the high quality of the early production. Only later were cashmere shawls draped like capes or cloaks. In the second half of the C19 the shawls might be much larger and were also made into dresses. In Basle they have survived most often after being used as covers for grand pianos.

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