This elegant ivory (pashmina) (doshala) from Kashmir dating back to the early-19th century was originally a part of the Dr Joan Coleman Collection (purchased Edinburgh 8.8.1977), and later The Zay Initiative managed to acquire it from Kerry Taylor Auctions in 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 elegant rectangular piece at first glance may look like a long (Kirking_shawl) of European origin, but it was originally pashmina in (kani) weave from the looms of Kashmir. With an ivory centre and base, this piece is woven (selvedge) to selvedge – without any extra attachments – in mustard yellow – (ochre), red, brown and (indigo) blue.
The (phala) has seven large elongated (buta) or (paisley) each with a stark ivory border against a red base, a yellow body and a blue (shikam). Upon closer inspection, one would notice that there is a small upturned (kunjbutah) in the white space between the (ser) and the body of these paisleys.
The (jaal) between the paisleys have floral arrangements mostly in blue – indigo – foliage and red and yellow – mustard – blooms in the shape of solid columns. The two (tanjir) have two different floral designs as opposed to the same designs which were more common in similar contemporary pieces. While the top line – tanjir – is composed of repeated motifs of tilted blooms in the shape of a tube rose in yellow and red with indigo foliage in between, the bottom line – tanjir – is composed primarily of foliage arranged in a vine in indigo and red. The (hashiya) on both ends are similar to the top-line tanjir both in design and in colour in a larger size.
Above the top tanjir and next to the hashiya on both sides there is another border that frames the central space. This frame is composed of nine medium sizes buta tilted to a side above the tanjir and thirteen buta next to the hashiya on the sides with six facing right and seven left. It is topped off with a thin line of repeated temple steeple motifs on all four sides almost like a fringe holding the central plain ivory space.