Kashmir is known for several things, which include the picturesque places, monuments, culture and tradition. Similarly, the carpet industry here in the Valley has quite prominence all across the globe. The carpet industry that has quite prominence nowadays has its origin in Persia, and the people from the Valley got influenced by the Persian Motifs. However, in the 16th and 17th centuries, artisans in Kashmir began giving specialized touches to the carpets produced in the region, giving them a distinctive character of their own. The Kashmir carpet industry has emerged as a specialized industry, providing a livelihood to a significant portion of the people residing in the area. Other than its natural beauty and the shawl and sweater industry, Kashmir is very well known for its carpet industry. The Kashmiri carpet is a product that has captured the hearts of people the world over, mainly on account of their intricate designs and their durability. The art of carpet weaving in Kashmir has been passed on from one generation to another, with most of the weavers still preferring to hand-weave the carpets rather than use a mechanized process. Kashmiri carpets are traditionally made either from silk or from wool. Sometimes, a combination of wool and silk is used. Artisans are nowadays making use of mercerized cotton for the production of these carpets. The base of these carpets is made either from cotton or silk. Kashmiri carpets are comparatively more expensive on account of the materials used (wool and silk) as well as the elaborate production process involved. Kashmiri crafts are treated as an investment because of their unique qualities. The tree of life is a design that is very commonly found on Kashmiri carpets. Flowers and trees as well as other motifs inspired by the natural beauty of Kashmir are also largely found on carpets made here. The process of production of a Kashmiri carpet is long and laborious, involving a number of steps such as cultivation of silk or wool, treating and dyeing it, deciding the pattern of the carpet, weaving and then adding the final touches. The person who designs the carpet is called Nakaash in Kashmir, while the weaver and the person who does the dyeing are called Kalimba and Ranger respectively.
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