Fine wool Kashmir shawl
Finely woven Kashmir wool shawls from India became status symbols in Europe in the 18th century, and were considered the height of fashion up until the 1870s. As highly desirable commodities, factory-owners in Europe were quick to capitalise on their appeal and employed new industrial machine weaving methods to maximise profits. Towns such as Norwich, Edinburgh and Paisley became known for their mechanised shawl-making. Due to the widespread popularity of the shawls manufactured in Paisley, the term become synonymous with the teardrop shape motif known as the boteh or buta in India, which likely evolved from an earlier Persian rendering of a pinecone.
This beautifully woven shawl was probably made in the Kashmir region of India and can be dated to the later stages of the shawls popularity due to the colour scheme, elongated boteh motif and very large size which would have allowed it to be worn over the extremely full skirted gowns of the 1850s and 1860s.