About Kashmir Shawls it is said "Of all Indian textiles none excels in beauty, colour, texture and design as the famous Kashmir Shawl".
Shawls are produced by two techniques, loom woven or kani shawls and the needle embroidered or sozni shawls.
The basic fabric is of the three types - Shah Tush, Pashmina and Raffal. Shah Tush (King of wool) passes through a ring and is also known as Ring shawl. It comes from a rare Tibetan antelope living at a height of over 14000 ft in the wilds of the Himalayas. Pashmina is known world over as cashmere wool, it comes from a special goat (Capra hircus) living at an altitude of 12000 to 14000 ft reared by shephered nomads around famous pongkong lake in close vicinity of western Tibet. Raffal is spun out of marino wool tops and is a popular type of shawl.
The shawls are embroidered in floral motifs, various designs available range from Neemdoor, Doordaar, Paladaar, Baildaar, Jaalis and Jammas, with the help of needle. Where as kani shawls are woven on looms with the help of kanis. Kanis are small eyeless bobbins used instead of the shuttle.
John lrwin in his well-known book, "Kashmir Shawls' says." The local tradition held so far is that the founder of the shawl industry was Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin (1421-72). Some other writers on the subject trace the origin of the industry to earlier times.