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Sales of Shahtoosh shawls continues, despite ban
Jun '10
With the recovery of its sales that have taken place in the last decade, thought stealthily, Shahtoosh Shawl continues to be traded. Banned in 1975, the shawl is produced by utilising wool from the endangered Tibetan antelope, Chiru.

The ban had been imposed in 1975, under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), after witnessing the decreasing number of antelopes.

Following the 1975 ban, the Indian government banned trade of shawl in 1991, but the Jammu and Kashmir government, refrained from imposing the ban and continued with Shahtoosh shawl sales till 2000. Shahtoosh is still a popular part of the wardrobe in most ancient countries.

Farooq Ahmad Shah, Chairman, Traders and Manufacturers Federation of Kashmir, told PTI that, the shawl business was yet being practiced, but the product was no longer sold under the name, Shahtoosh. It is being sold as some other fabric and countries such as France, Germany and some parts of Europe have witnessed a surge in its sales, during the last few years. Domestically, not much of sales have been recorded.

Adds, historian and Former Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir cultural Academy, MY Taing, after the ban was imposed, Shahtoosh was traded illicitly from Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and China. For people with taste, Shahtoosh shawls are definitely the first choice to be picked from the market of shawls. Therefore, its demand cannot fall easily.

More so, people of Kashmir are the only people in the world, who can weave and spin Shahtoosh. While the women spin, men weave the subtle yarn in to light, soft, warm and delicate shawls.

Currently, the raw materials required for weaving and spinning shawls, are imported in to Kashmir from China and Tibet. These raw materials are then processed and spun to form a shawl, which is later exported. In addition, overseas sales of Shahtoosh shawls in Kashmir-based handloom and art showrooms, which are situated within five-star hotels in India, has been incredible, during the last few years, concluded Shah.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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