Pashmina; 8 5/8 x 59 7/8 in. (21.9 x 152.1 cm)
Gift of Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, 1998 (1998.217)
Akbar (r. 15561605) was the first Mughal emperor to encourage the Kashmiri textile industry, and in the sixteenth century they were made mainly for the domestic market. The pashmina itself had to be imported from Ladakh, from which Kashmir had secured a monopoly, and the yarn was woven to form a very fine shawl with 80 to 100 warp threads per inch. In the nineteenth century, these luxury shawls became a major export to Europe. They were so popular that factories in England opened in order to make local imitations. The most successful one, in Paisley, elaborated the flower-and-cypress motif as seen on this scarf into a new type of ornament named for the city of its invention.