‘Shal’ is a Persian expression from which the word ‘shawl’ is derived. It formerly represented a division of woven fabric but then, later on, it was used to represent a particular kind of clothing. These shawls are just loose clothing which are used as a shoulder-mantle piece and are usually worn above other outfits. They have been used to protect one from the unsympathetic frosty conditions. So, providing warmth has been the fundamental role of these shawls.
There should have been some instance which brought in the usage of this garment. But it has not been recorded anywhere and so tracing it is quite difficult.
The History behind these Shawls
‘Tallit’ was a long piece of cloth which was used by the Jewish at the time of attending ceremonial rituals and prayers.
In the early 1800’s, say somewhere between 1801 and 1810, Chinese started showing interest in buying shawls which were made of silk. They were named ‘Chinese Crepe Shawls’ and were very popular amidst the European and the Americans in the 1820’s for the extraordinary embroidery work on the silk shawls.
These shawls were also exported to Spain all the way through the Manila port in the Philippines and were sold as ‘Matons de Manila’. These shawls became the main dressing of the Gypsies in Spain who were generally identified as ‘gitanas’.
Russia was doing business with Persia in the 19th centuries. This dealing paved the way to the usage of the Persian shawls among the Russian women. As a result, the weaving of shawl was established in Russia. The Persians used Kirman goats’ wool to manufacture the Persian shawls. These Persian shawls also included materials like cotton, wool, and silk to make the designing part of the shawl wonderful. The tradition of shawls in Russia was a combination of Asian and European ethnicity.
Shawls were a part of the traditional costume of people living in Andalusia, Germany, Latin America, Madrid and the Near East. It started becoming popular for their detailed patterns and drawings and it also grew to be tagged as one of the high fashioned clothing of Western Europe around 1850’s.
Indian Woollen Textile – Exceptional at Knitting
India has contributed a lot to the growth of the woollen textile. It has proved to be exceptional at knitting. Kashmir valley in India is very famous for the knitting of the Pashmina shawls which is made of wool from Capra Hircus, a mountain goat found in Tibet and Central Asia. The elegant design of a pashmina shawl is very striking and these shawls are in style in Europe, Persia, and in few other western countries for their smoothness and warmness.
Shawls are very much in use among men and are also a conventional part of their outfit. Cold places in India like the Himalayas, the north-eastern states like West Bengal and the north-western states like Gujarat and Punjab are well-known for these knitted shawls.