Tapestry of Kashmir

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photo 1Art from the Valley of Kashmir has it own uniqueness and a special place in the culture of the Valley. Whatever, the art form, it always has a place in the day-to-day life of the Kashmiris. Tapestry being one of such art forms, which has evolved over the ages, has created a niche beyond the borders of the Valley of Kashmir. A very delicate piece of art forming part of interior decoration for decades is now also used as the floor covering.

Comprising a considerable portion of the handicrafts exports from Kashmir. The style of tapestry making hand-embroidered tapestries is unique in Kashmir, as it does not resemble the process of manufacturing of rugs anywhere else in the world. Like many European countries, especially Spain, tapestries are made on looms.

Making of a tapestry piece in the Valley involves drawing a design on a paper, which is followed by tracing the same on the canvas for needle-work. Once this is done, it is tightened with in a wooden frame with the help of nails. The wooden frames come in various sizes – the bigger the frame the larger is the size of the tapestry. Usually the sizes remain confined to 3’x5′, 6’x4, 6’x9′ and 9’x12’. Unless ordered to desired specifications.

photo 4Woolen yarn of 2 to 3 ply is stitched with the canvass in various designs, however, the fineness depends on execution of the designs, designer’s taste and the quality of the embroidery. The designs mostly are made around flora and fauna, landscapes, animals or geometric patterns, emphasis being on making it as colorful as possible.

The artists use needle-work embroidery mostly cross stitch to bring the designs to life. The entire piece is covered with embroidery, which bestows a look of painting more than an embroidered item. Wall hangings vary depending on the type of thread used in the embroidery – silk threads provide shine while woolen threads give matte finish. A tapestry that is a combination of both – the contrasting threads complementing each other – gives a multifaceted texture.