Russian shawls

SHAWL /Persian – Shāl Sanskrit – śāṭī, Russian – shal’/ – a simple item of clothing, loosely worn over the shoulders, upper body and arms.

The traditional Russian shawl is a unique national symbol of Russian culture.

These shawls are made of 100% wool at a factory in a small old Russian town not far from Moscow. They are being produced in only one place in Russia – Pavlovo Posad.

Photo | Armando Tura

The factory has operated since XIX century and has a long tradition.

In the very beginning, it took a long time to produce shawls. As a result, those shawls were very expensive. Only 11-16 shawls were produced by one manufacturer per a year.

It could take six months to two years to create one shawl.

Shawls were decorated with hardwood block printing techniques. A different wood block was used for each color. The design was developed by an artist.

And then, printing was made by specially carved wide wooden planks. Each color in the design required a separate plank. So, the more complicated the design was, the more planks that were needed.

A piece of fabric of the shawl’s size was spread on a frame. The planks with paint were applied to the shawl and they were beaten with a hammer. First, the outline of the design was “beaten” into the material followed by the main design. Sometimes, if the design was complicated, it needed up to 400 planks with different colors.

Today, naturally, the whole technology is different: the designs are printed with modern machines. However, the fringe is still made by hand.

Usually, the shawls are rich in color with a blank center space. On the corners of the shawl there are large flowers – rose is a symbol of this style. Also the paisley pattern is very traditional for Russian shawls.

PAISLEY is a droplet-shaped pattern of Indian and Persian origin. The pattern is sometimes called “Persian pickles”. Imports from the East India Company in the 17th century made paisley and other Indian patterns very popular in Europe. The western name of this pattern derives from the town of Paisley, in central Scotland.

With Russian traditional shawls, There are many different designs, background colors, sizes, and types of fringe. The shawl can have a woolen or silk fringe; some shawls do not have fringe.

Traditional shawls are made from 100 % wool but are very light, so they are comfortable and warm.

Shopping Cart