Set of a duo with (ZI2000.500761 EUROPE).
This rectangular Victorian silk (Gauze) printed (Shawl) dating back to the mid-19th century was originally part of a duo along with another similar piece – ZI2020.500761 EUROPE – in the Dr Joan Coleman Collection. It was first purchased at a Philips auction on November 8, 1979. Later The Zay Initiative managed to acquire it from Kerry Taylor Auctions in the year 2020.
Dr Joan Coleman began collecting shawls in 1976 and developed her lifelong passion for collecting. She was a regular at the London salesrooms of Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips – three of the most outstanding auction houses of the period in the world – getting to know the dealers and learning in the process. She acquired vast knowledge and dedicated hours carefully cataloguing her ever-growing collection. She intended to loan her collection to different museums and institutions for the benefit of learning and education. Her collection is one of the largest and the finest private Shawl collections to have ever graced the world with shawls ranging from Kashmir, Paisley, Edinburgh, Norwich, France, and Iran.
This wine-red Shawl is a rectangular Victorian piece printed on silk Gauze emulating the style of the (Long_Shawl) from the first quarter of the 19th century. It was part of a set of a duo at the Dr Joan Coleman collection with another similar piece – ZI2020.500761 EUROPE – which is also a part of The Zay Initiative collection.
The silk Gauze is treated with (quadrilled) weave giving the entire field an all-over chequered design. The printed element on the Shawl is distributed in a pattern similar to that of the long shawls. There are two broad (Phala) with six elongated (Buta) or (Paisley) and a slightly narrower (hashiya) with similar paisleys but on a smaller scale. Unlike long shawls, the Phala in this Shawl lacks any (Tanjir).
The main elongated paisleys on the Phala are separated by an elaborate floral design arranged in a very geometric manner forming the (Jaal). Each unit of the Jaal is composed of a temple steeple arch with two small paisleys on top placed back-to-back. This is followed by a stylized double tear drop that finally gives way to a flowing (Palmette).
Both the Phala and the hashiya have similar elaborate yet intricate designs that are (Screen_printed) in an array of vibrant colours – pink, blue, green, orange, and beige. The finishing touch to the Shawl is rendered by a series of fringed (Macrame) tassels of Satin (Quadrilles) stitched to the Shawl.
Although briefly, it may look like it had been (Block_printed), especially the body, however, the execution of the intricate design elements leaves no doubt about its Screen_printing production procedure.
As women’s fashion changed from long flowing skirts that paired well with shawls to (Bustled) (Crinolines) from the 1860s – the 70s and the subsequent rise of capes and jackets, the Shawl industry in Europe, as well as the subcontinent, suffered a major setback. This change in fashion coupled with the Franco-Prussian War that disrupted trade between Europe and India made the original pieces from Kashmir far more expensive resulting in the loss of patronage of the aristocracy. With high fashion losing interest, even the demand for the machine – (Jacquard) loom–woven fabric for the mass market suffered a loss. To keep themselves afloat, weavers thus started producing machine-woven printed fabrics at an affordable rate as a last-ditch effort to keep themselves significant.