Finally, after a long break, here I am with my next post on the beautiful craft of our country.
I have already written about the Carpets/Kaleen makers of KASHMIR before also
But, last month on my trip to Gulmarg and Srinagar, I finally got the golden chance to witness carpet making in front of my eyes.
Our driver took us to Ali Shah emporium where the bunch of weavers were weaving the carpets. They are making carpets since 1860. They are the registered dealers of Carpets in Srinagar.
The history Kashmir carpet culmination of artistic magnificence -date back to the period of Hazrat Mir Syed Ali Hamdani 1341-1385 A.D. – the famous Sufi saint of Persia who came to enlighten Kashmir with his spiritual guidance and brought along highly skilled artisans through the silk trade route and laid base for the cottage industries in Kashmir valley.
After the Mughal conquest Emperor Akbar 1580 A.D. also brought weavers from Persia to Kashmir . A great period in the history of carpets in Kashmir came In the time of Zainul-Abadin (budshah) 1730 A.D. and our carpets started winning fame in far regions.
We had a long chat with the GM – Mr. M. Rafiq Shah of the emporium about how they initiate the designs and patterns. The weavers were sitting patiently and focused in the workshop while weaving the intricate designs.
Each weaver has been given a set of coding for the designs.
Thousands of white thread tied on both ends in vertical position and the weaver starts weaving on each thread with the colorful silk wool thread.
The emporium has the wall of several pictures showing the process of carpet making from dyeing to weaving and to cutting.
The gentleman took us to the exhibition room where they have some 1000+ carpets/rugs/mats/bed-covers properly kept in the racks.
They make garments as well. One can buy pashmina, accessories with Kashida embroidery also in the emporium.
With the modern machines being introduced, this skill of carpet making with hands is dyeing which is unfortunate. There are only few workshops left now in Kashmir which makes genuine hand-woven carpets with original silk wool yarn.
The reason is simple, cost of living is going up and making a carpet sometime takes days, or months or many a times years as well. The weavers work on daily wages and at today’s age it is not sufficient for them to run their house.
The younger generation is running the modernized technique and industry. They are not keen to learn this skill which is time consuming and less paid.
Handmade products have patience and time invested of an artisan, pattern-maker. You cannot just calculate the price of a handmade product with its size or weight. You need to see the labor the weavers/artisans put in to serve you the best from their hand.
Museums all around the world has beautiful handcrafted products, to preserve the dyeing handmade/handcrafted skill.
We lack patience, concentration and most important imagination to create something.
If you ever go to Srinagar, and have interest in hand-woven carpets, please visit the
ALI SHAH EMPORIUM
#3, Nageen Lake Road
Srinagar, Kashmir (J&K)
General Manager – M. Rafiq Shah | +91.9796950016
Last but not the least , a quick glimpse of the weavers doing their job