As late as the 19th century, jamavar shawls from India were hand woven using a twill tapestry weave with interlocking weft threads. The bobbins holding these threads were called kanis, and the shawls themselves were sometimes known as kani shawls. The hand weaving of that type of intricately designed, jamavar shawl is no longer commercially viable, since one shawl would take a craftsman months, or even years, to complete. (Even with favorable international currency exchange rates, such pieces would cost thousands of dollars.) Jamavar shawls today are made on automated, jacquard looms.
Nevertheless, today’s shawl makers are developing techniques to more closely replicate the intricate, crisply defined motifs of the original kani jamavar shawls. One of the newest of these techniques has produced what have, somewhat confusingly, come to be known—and marketed—as kani shawls.
These modern kani jamavar shawls are woven on automated jacquard looms but are significantly different from the better known jacquard jamavar shawls. In general, the kani shawls’ motifs are more crisply defined, and a kani shawl will usually incorporate a larger number of colors than a jacquard jamavar. In order to do this, the weft threads on a kani shawl are carried along as floats on the back side of the shawl and are only woven in when their colors are required. When the weaving is finished, the float threads are cut away by hand. This hand cutting is a time consuming process and accounts for a substantial portion of a shawl’s cost.
Because of the way they are woven, kani shawls are not reversible.
Kani shawls vary in price, depending on the number of colors used and the detailing of their motifs. Shawls with the most dense, intricate, and crisply defined motifs are more costly. The shawls we sell are described as Kani Diamond (the most expensive), Kani Gold, and Kani Silver (the least costly). All of our kani shawls are made of 100% new, Merino wool.
Heritage Trading Product Links:
Kani Diamond, $123.99