The sumptuous textiles of master weaver Firdose Ahmad Jan are beloved for their exquisite patterning and unparalleled softness. Extending a centuries-old artistic tradition, Jan, who lives and works in Kashmir, India, believes strongly in the historical integrity and rich background of his artistic practice, which, after all, is believed to have first started in this part of India many hundreds of years ago. “I am lucky that I was born into a family where every member has passion to sustain and preserve this folk art for coming generations,” says Jan.
Today, the shawl-weaving industry continues to play a vital role in the socioeconomic and cultural lives of Indian people, and this strong pride is why the pashmina shawl is famous throughout the world. Jan’s shawls, so distinctively patterned and painstakingly crafted, are made on traditional wooden looms, using all-local materials from a specialized type of wool to organic dyes.
Jan was born in Srinagar Kashmir, India, into a veritable artistic dynasty, who were long respected for practicing this highly prized artform for generations. From the age of five years old, Jan began following in these artistic footprints, first learning how to clean raw wool from his mother, then later receiving formal training from his father. “My mother also supported my creativity later on,” explains Jan. “She always told me that to practice this folk art is not only to a means of making a living, but also a means of serving God.”