The close link between nature, history and the crafts of Jammu and Kashmir is reflected in the characteristics and development of embroidery in the Kashmir valley. Here, the embroidery derives inspiration from the gentle colors of the landscape, from the flowers and the birds. Indeed what else, but the bounty of nature could have inspired the creator of this rich, luxurious and florid piece of textile?
At the first glance this jacket overawes us with the sheer density of the embroidery which inhabits every speck of place offered by the surface, including the reverse, the sleeves, in other words any available space. The dominant motif is floral with some scattered petals and leaves separated from the stems floating in between. The basic colors used in carving out the vegetation are blues and pinks in a couple of hues (dark and light), while the red, white, and green threads are characterized by a constancy of the same. Indeed stylized flowers as an end in themselves have been a principal source of engagement in Kashmiri embroidery. Starting from simple depictions several centuries ago (the earliest extant example belongs to the 17th century, though the tradition is definitely older), the floral motif evolved gradually, transforming itself from a single bloom into an increasingly stylized bunch or bouquet.
All-over flower patterns such as this are known as cheet-misri in the Kashmiri language.
The buttons too of this gorgeous jacket are covered with the same inspired threads achieved in the same colors as the main embroidery. Truly for those who prefer extravagance tempered with sophistication.