Himalayan warmth

Winter has arrived in the southern hemisphere and we have some gorgeous warmth generating devices from one of the coldest places on the planet.

Pashmina goat

Pashmina goat

It gets so cold in the Himalayas that even the goats have developed clever ways of keeping warm. The Changthangi or pashmina goats have developed exceptionally warm and light fiber that not only insulates them from the sub-zero temperatures, but also makes some of the softest, warmest textiles you would ever want next to your skin.
All these winter warmers are made from hand-spun fibre which has been dyed from natural sources* and hand-woven into the most beautiful cloth.

We travelled to the home of these products to personally select some fabulous pieces for our stock because we know that this organisation practices all those things we hold dear at KASU EMPORIUM:

  • Fair wages: significantly higher wages than usual
  • Gender equality: equal pay for equal work
  • Educational support for women
  • Medical support for staff
  • Reviving old and endangered skills
  • Non-violent silk: no silk worms are harmed in the production of these goodies
  • Organic cotton: environmentally friendly
  • Natural dyes from local plants*

    Hand spun, hand woven pashmina & eri silk shawl

    Hand spun, hand woven pashmina & eri silk shawl

*Some of the sources of natural dyes used in these products:

  • Lac – a sticky, resinous secretion of the tiny lac insect, Laccifer lacca, a species of scale insect. This insect is cultivated on Kusumbh and Tesu trees and has been used as a natural dye in South Asia and India since the beginning of recorded history.
  • Brazilwood – first mentioned as a dye in 1321, Brazilwood is sourced from East Indies and India. The word Brazil comes from the Spanish ‘brasa’, meaning glowing embers. The country of Brazil was named after the wood found there, not the other way round. Asian Brazilwood is grown in managed plantations, and is unlikely to be endangered.
  • Madder root – cultivated as a dyestuff since antiquity in central Asia and Egypt, where it was grown as early as 1500 B.C. Cloth dyed with madder root pigment was found in the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun and in the ruins of Pompeii and ancient Corinth. The cultivation of madder needs sub topical climates and prefers moist soil and is cultivated in the foots of Himalayas in huge quantity.
  • Indigo is among the oldest dyes to be used for textile dyeing and printing and produces blue colours. India is believed to be the oldest centre of indigo dyeing in the Old World. The association of India with indigo is reflected in the Greek word for the ‘dye,’ which was ‘indikon’.
  • Tesu flowers, aka ‘flame of the forest’ bloom in the spring on the Palash tree. It is believed to possess medicinal properties and is also good for the skin.
    The color extracted from Tesu flowers was used to play Holi in ancient India and it is believed that Lord Krishna played Holi with Radha using colors made from Tesu flowers.
Eri silk shawl

Eri silk shawl

Read the story about the trip to find these beautiful textiles here >>>>

All purchases at KASU EMPORIUM generate a donation to someone in need.


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