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The history of Pavlopossadsky patterns and shawls

Katherine KryukovaComment

Pavlopossadskie shawls is a word combination generally associated with long tea parties on dark winter evenings, samovars and pryanyki from Tula and naturally with Russia itself.
Pavlopossadskie patterns date back to the end of the 17 century and it is due to Russian craftsmen that these are well known all over the world. But unlike matrioshkas, dancing bears and other things that generally associate with Russian culture,  Pavloposadskie shawls have a large scale practical application along with aesthetic value.


Russian craftsmen often borrowed from other cultures to create the unique patterns: Indian lotus, designs of antique vases, flowers, birds, ancient symbols and many others. But the main theme of Pavloposadskie shawls is the life of Russian people. The artists manage to capture in fabric scenes from everyday life: happy and uplifting moments along with hardships and sorrow…
Initially the Pavlovoposadskie shawls were hand painted by the craftsmen, which required considerable skill. But on the verge of the 19th century the production was mechanized by the manufacturers and it was then that the Russian shawls started getting high quality awards at international fares and exhibitions. The manufacturing techniques allowed even then to make both one-sided and two-sided print. It goes without saying that they became a luxury market product affordable only to the wealthy. 

Each manufacturer to this day has its own distinctive design by which an expert could tell one producer from another. For example, Pavloposadskie shawls are distinguished by their lush floral designs along the perimeter, as a rule field and garden flowers typical for the part of Russia they originate from. Lilies and roses are dominant flowers in the pattern along the border and, the center is mostly decorated with smaller flower garlands.
Another frequent design in Pavlovoposadskie shawls is Eastern ornaments which was brought to Russia from Asia. Pavloposadskie shawls have always been cherished for great variety, ingenuity, taste in designs, textures and unmistakable quality.

Originally a head dress and scarf was an important and meaningful element of Russian national costume, so a special piece was kept for special occasions be it a happy or a tragic one, that’s why different patterns suited different occasions. With the changing times the Pavloposadskie shawls started to be worn in wider contexts and have become a favorite accessory of stylish ladies and an inspiration for Russian haute couture designers. They are worn in variety of styles, regardless of season or occasion. They are widely regarded as a beautiful, high quality and chic accessory.