Kashmiri embroidery, which is also called Kashida embroidery, is a type of needlework from the Kashmir region of India.
This is one of the most beautiful forms of embroidery in the country, distinguished by its use of a single long stitch to make the design.
The whole design is made with one or two embroidery stitches which are expertly executed by the embroidery craftsman.
This is what makes Kashmiri embroidery designs extremely unique. This ancient art started as a small cottage industry in the 11th century and then, over the years, became a favourite with the aristocracy and eventually, the Mughal nobility.
Today, it is considered one of the most gorgeous types of embroidery in the world.
Kashmiri embroidery work is famous for the smooth, expert manner in which a single stitch is utilized to create elaborate designs.
The entire design on fabric will be created with a maximum of two stitches, which can be of many different types, from the chain stitch, the satin stitch, the slanted darn stitch, and the herringbone stitch and the stem stitch.
The typical base of the fabric is silk, wool or cotton; wool is the most commonly used as it is commonly available in the area.
The thread used is usually a fine woollen one, though nowadays other materials are used as well.
Pashmina, a type of fine and light-weight wool, is the most famous export of Kashmir and Pashmina garments with Kashmiri embroidery work are the most coveted items from this region.
Kashmiri embroidery motifs are more often than not inspired by nature. Popular designs include maple leaves, trees, flowers, twigs, branches, birds, animals and lotus blooms.
Certain distinctive types of designs are unique to Kashmiri embroideries, such as the Kashmir-Jaal, a fine network of embroidery typically used around the neckline of garments, Jaama, a very thickly embroidered pattern depicting intertwining trees, branches and flowers and Jaal, a fine and delicate network of trees and flowering vines motifs.
Depending on the types of motifs and stitches used, there are different names given to sub-types of Kashmiri embroidery, such as Sozni, Papier Mache, Shaaldaar etc.
They would all come under the broad category of Kashmiri embroidery.
This type of embroidery can be used to decorate many different types of garments and accessories.
Kashmiri embroidery shawls are the most famous and commonly found garments with this type of needlework.
Shawls are extremely popular in this region because of the cold climate, but today, they have also become in demand the world over.
Kashmiri embroidery shawls are considered a must-have ethnic winter accessory. The distinctive, intricate designs give them a very beautiful look.
They are most often made of wool, with the pure Pashmina varieties being considered the finest.