Indian Prayer Shawls: Sacred Beauty
Indian prayer shawls are world-renowned for their rich color and artisan weaving process. First used in Hindu prayer rituals over 3,000 years ago, prayer shawls are still used in sacred traditions in many different religious faiths across the world. These shawls are also popular fashion garments beloved from the Middle East to the Western World for their softness and elegance. At World Market, we are proud of our authentic, handwoven shawls in many hues and their rich history that dates back thousands of years.
The Kashmir region of India is famed for its textiles and woven arts. Early shawls from this region were hand spun from pashmina wool collected from wild mountain goats. Kashmiri shawls became a signature Indian art form, beloved for their warmth, smoothness and the ease with which they could be dyed. In fact, the fabric motif known as paisley developed from traditional prayer shawl designs that featured leaves, flowers, trees and other life-affirming symbols of nature. In addition to being worn as sacred accents, prayer shawls are also used as decorations in the home. By the nineteenth century Indian shawls became highly popular in Western Europe as fashion accessories. Now, their traditional style can be seen in all parts of the world!
The Indian tradition of creating artful shawls through hand weaving, hand dyeing and hand embroidery still flourishes today. Many modern shawls use a blend of cashmere and silk to increase their sheen and ensure lasting durability. They're still handcrafted by artisans using a painstaking process of intricate looming passed down through generations. You'll find them in a single, often bright color or multicolored and embellished with floral patterns and block printing. We feature a lovely variety of prayer and other Indian shawls at World Market, from lush single-color offerings to vibrantly patterned, exclusive shawls directly from the holy Indian city of Benaras. Many of our shawls are perfect comforts for wintertime, and others have been brightly dyed for year-round use. They also make fine, kaleidoscopic additions to home décor either spread out or tied. We find that shawls work beautifully on any occasion, be it casual or dressy, and their immaculate artisan crafting is what makes them truly sacred.