Get on your magic carpet

Get on your magic carpet

Resting in the lap of the soaring, snow-capped Himalayas, Kashmir is indeed a jewel in India's crown. Apart from its charming abode of scenic locales, Kashmir is renowned for its majestic handwoven carpets, walnut wood furniture, papier mâché products and pashmina shawls. The appeal of Persian-style hand-knotted silk carpets, the warmth of pashmina shawls, the essence of Kashmir saffron, the ambrosial fruits, and the intricately carved handicraft items are the best buys on your visit to the valley of Kashmir.

With a rich heritage

Kashmiri carpets are a must-buy for anyone visiting the heavenly abode. It is a product that has captured the hearts of people world over, owing to their intricate handmade designs and durability. Carpet weaving in Kashmir is an art form which dates back to the 15th century during the Mughal era. Since then, Kashmiri carpets continue to add grace and beauty to our homes and workplaces.

Hand-knotted rugs from Kashmir are made out of natural mulberry silk; they enjoy a special place of pride in the handicraft industry worldwide. They have intricate designs that are primarily oriental, in a floral style in a  range of colours, sizes and quality.

Kashmir rugs are renowned to have bright,  jewel-like colour tones such as sapphire blue, ruby red, emerald green, aquamarine, amethyst and ivory. Rugs from Kashmir typically involve significant and culturally important motifs such as the paisley, chinar tree and snow-capped mountains.

Most of  these  designs are rooted in the Kashmiri way of living and are a symbolic representation of the age-old  Kashmiri tradition of hospitality, warmth and genuine love. In fact, they are artistic expressions of the weavers' skill and imagination.

Just so you are better geared to make an informed assessment of the Kashmiri carpets, below are the guidelines that you should emphasise on while making that decision to buy:

Artistry first

The fluidity of design in an original luxury carpet is in its sense of visual depth. The  efficient use of proportion between design elements, contrast and shading of colours to attain a level of overall unity in the composition makes it rare and exquisite. Demonstrating a premier level of Kashmiri craftsmanship through the high density of knots, the sharpness of their motifs and the level of detailed work make Kashmiri carpets one of its kind. You have to see it to believe it.

Juxtaposition jargon

A quality Kashmiri carpet possesses an overall balance and harmony between its various motifs, and between its colours and patterns. The uniquely woven motifs used in a balanced, harmonious fashion in the Kashmiri carpets make them intriguing enough to stand out in any kind of home decor.

Splash of colours

The radiance and level of nuance within each colour of a Kashmiri carpet  have a unique and unparallel appeal. With extraordinary hues and excellent tonality which resonates to vivid effects in a bright decor or a subdued lamplight, Kashmiri carpets intrigue an onlooker and elevate the decor due to its unique riot of colours.

Is it exclusive?

A carpet is highly valuable if it is a one-of-a-kind design. Adhering to this thumb rule, Kashmiri carpets have been woven as an exemplary representative of singular works of art. Thus, no two carpets will ever be the same.

Good quality forever

The sheen, lustre, and durability of a Kashmiri carpet are highly dependent on the different grades of material used in weaving it. Nothing but the  most beautiful raw materials are used by Kashmiri artisans to create masterpieces, which represent historical influences complimenting a designer label.

A lifetime investment

Kashmiri carpets symbolise luxury and are considered as a lifetime investment as they are hand-made pieces of art. The usage of silk makes them expensive too.  These rugs are never machine-made, and they are always knotted, never tufted.  The knotting of a Kashmiri carpet is the most critical aspect, which determines its durability and value, in addition to its design.  Basically, the more knots per square inch, the  higher its value and strength.  Spending your money on hand-made Kashmiri carpets and specifically, hand-knotted carpets have been considered as an investment since the 16th century and even before.  A good Kashmiri carpet has always been more than an image of splendour woven in fabric; it is an asset, an under-your-foot or on-the-wall savings account meant to preserve the value of money for years - an insurance policy to be handed down and, in hard times, sold.


(The author is owner, Meraas)

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