Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Shawl (Persian shal), a square or oblong garment worn so as to hang from the shoulders. In the East, where its use dates back to a remote period, it is both worn loose and woven into tunics and other shaped articles. The most beautiful and costly shawls are those made in Kashmir. The material of Cashmere shawls, called "pashm" or "pashmina," is the fine short under-wool of the shawl-goat indigenous to the highlands of Tibet. These shawls are either woven at the loom or embroidered; in the former case they usually consist of small segments joined together with so much neatness that they present the appearance of a single piece; the embroidered shawls have an intricate design worked with the needle in pashmina thread on a plain ground of the same material. The processes of sorting the wool, spinning, dyeing, and weaving or embroidering, all require great care and occupy much time. The main feature in the designs on Cashmere shawls, the artistic value of which is fully recognised, is the "cone" pattern, traced by some experts to the image of a cypress bent by the wind. These shawls are also prized for the harmony, depth, richness, and durability of their colours. An inferior kind of shawl, in which the pashm is mingled with "koork" (goat's wool from Kerman, in Persia), is manufactured by settlers from Kashmir in various towns of the Punjaub. The genuine Persian shawls are made of silk, and rank second to those of Kashmir alone. The manufacture of imitation shawls which formerly throve at Lyons, Norwich, Paisley, and elsewhere, has now greatly declined, or become altogether extinct, and it is said that even in Persia European broadcloth is gradually superseding the native shawl-stuff.