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Silk shawl

Silk shawl

Inv. Nr: CE2/01692

This shawl made of silk is fuchsia red and intense blue in colour. Made in just one rectangular piece, it has unwoven loose ends on two of its sides and two on its edge. It is decorated with plant motifs (palms, ferules and oval centred roses) set out in a symmetrical manner. This model was produced in the English factory Clabburn Sons and Crisp., in the city of Norwich, and dates from1860.

The shawl is a big rectangular scarf with a plain middle, and the edges are framed with patterns. It was worn by women and was used as a garment which covered the body entirely or partially. It was also used as an adornment, in processions, for protection, or as respectful clothing to enter sacred places such as churches.

Even though Kashmir shawls were known in Europe halfway through the 18th century, it is around 1800 that they began to be imported more in large quantities. In Europe, the shawl came into fashion firstly in France, where it became an essential item of female clothing, as an extra layer for the thin, low cut dresses of the First French Empire (1804-1814). However, the massive trade of these kinds of shawls was in the hands of the English, who practically held the monopoly on trade with India through the British East India Company. Due to the high demand for this garment and its high price, France and then England began to manufacture it in a powerful textile industry.

Piece not on display.

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