The Christian Science Monitor : 2020-12-07

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IN PICTURES Woven treasures: Kashmir’s kani shawls 1 STORY AND PHOTOS BY BHAT BURHAN / CORRESPOND­ENT 2 NARAYAN BAGH, GANDERBAL, KASHMIR I n 2010, Kashmir-based artisan Mushtaq Ahmad Wani took a big step: He constructe­d a new building to expand his business. Since childhood, he had been creating kani shawls – one of the finely woven textile products that Kashmir is famous for. During the past decade, he taught his craft to more than 20 apprentice­s. It was time to take things to the next level. Mr. Wani is part of the large community of textile artisans in Kashmir, where shawl production has a long history. It’s believed that Zain-ul-Abidin, a sultan who controlled the region in the 15th century, introduced the craft from Central Asia. Kashmiri artisans have passed their skills down ever since. Shawls begin as raw wool from the coats of pashmina goats, which are raised in the Himalayas. The wool is spun into yarn and dyed. Then craftspeop­le use – small needlelike sticks – on looms to weave the patterns envisioned by or designers. It’s painstakin­g work. Most shawls take half a year to complete and cost between $500 and $2,500. Kashmir’s Directorat­e of Handicraft­s estimates that more than 100,000 artisan families depend on the trade for their livelihood. For Mr. Wani, dedication to the craft is paying off. 1 CAREFUL WORK: Women weave a shawl on a hanging loom. They say that long hours and difficult physical conditions are part of the job, and they want their children to find different work. tuji naqash, 2 MANY HUES: Charkhas, Pashmina yarn is stacked for storage. or spinning wheels, were once used to spin wool into yarn. Today, they have largely been replaced by machines. r THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEKLY | DECEMBER 7, 2020 41 PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­r.com +1 604 278 4604 ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW