Cashmere with a "K": The Controversial History of a Shawl


Shawl workers in Kashmir, circa 1870. Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Cultural appropriation and colonialism lie at the heart of the 19th century fashion trend for "cashmere" shawls, the anglicized version of the Kashmiri region from which these highly coveted luxury goods originally came.

ADDITIONAL READING:

  • Daly, Suzanne. “Kashmir Shawls in Mid-Victorian Novels.” Victorian Literature and Culture. Vol. 30, no.1 (2002), pg. 237-255.
  • Emmett, Deborah, "The fashion diplomacy and trade of Kashmir shawls: Conversations with shawl artisans, designers and collectors." (2016). Textile Society of America Symposium Proceedings. 952.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/tsaconf/952
  • Karpinski, Caroline. “Kashmir to Paisley.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. Vol. 22, No. 3. (Nov., 1963), pg. 116-123.
  • Levi-Strauss, Monique. The Romance of the Cashmere Shawl. Ahmedabad, India: Mapin Publishing Pvt. Ltd., 1987.
  • Maskielle, Michelle. “Consuming Kashmir: Shawls and Empires, 1500-2000.” Journal of World History, vol. 13, no. 1 (Spring 2002), pg. 27-65.
  • Sumner, Christina. “From Pinecone to Paisley: The Ubiquitous Boteh.” TAASA Review, Vol. 23, No. 3, (2014), 10- 12.
  • Zutshi, Chitralekha. “Designed for Eternity”: Kashmiri Shawls, Empire, and Cultures of Production and Consumption in Mid-Victorian Britain.” Journal of British Studies, vol. 48, no. 2, April 2009, pg. 420-440.