(Posted on 11/11/14)
Price range: low/medium to medium/high
General details made in a number of workshops throughout the Kashmir province of northern India, Kashmirs are generally regarded as the finest items made on the Indians subcontinent today. Kashmir is equally renowned for both its wool and silk items, and the best quality examples are as good as, and sometimes better than all but the finest contemporary Persian and Anatolian workshop rugs. Knotting can be very fine, with 322 Persian knots per sq inch as an average on the better items, and even higher knot-count on silk and part-silk rugs. The materials are generally of reasonably good quality. Unfortunately, a number of inferior items, employing the langriknot (which literally means ‘lame woman’, and is the Indian equivalent of Persian jufti knot), are also produced, either in Kashmir itself or the neighboring states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, and it is therefore extremely important to check each rug carefully. The weaving tradition in the region dates back to the 16th century and possibly earlier, but contemporary Kashmirs are made almost exclusively in Persian inspired medallion-and-corner, vase, paradise, prayer-rug, hunting, panelled garden, zel-i-sultan, allover floral and Shah Abbas designs. In addition, a number of copies of famous carpets are produced. Srinagar, the capital, is noted for its high quality silk rugs, which can normally be distinguished from other silk items by their rather stiff handle. As inferior pieces are sometimes passed off as silk Srinagars, always check the knotting and the general ‘feel’ (which should not be too floppy or soft). All Kashmirs are woven on either cotton or silk foundations, and the pile, whether wool or silk, is usually clipped fairly low. The palette is less pastel than that of other Indian and Pakistani weavers, but the shades are still paler and more contrasting than those in most Persian rugs. Silk Srinagars are mainly made in small rug sizes, but Kashmirs, whether silk or wool, come in a wide range of sizes, including quite large carpets.
Resale value: Kashmirs are usually very good buys, but they luck the mystique of Persian rugs, and consequently not viewed as potentially collectable. However, the better quality items have probably the best chance of any Indian rugs of holding their value over the longer term.