Pashmina and Shahtoosh


    In News 

    • Traders of Pashmina shawls are complaining that “obsolete testing methods” have resulted in many of their export consignments being flagged for presence of ‘Shahtoosh’ guard hair. 


    • Pashmina: It  is obtained from breeds of mountain goats ( capra hircus) found in the Changthang Plateau in Tibet and parts of Ladakh, in the Himalayan region of India.
      • India contributes only about 1% of the world’s Pashmina, but the Pashmina produced in India is considered the best of the lot and occupies a unique position.
      • Manufacture of Pashmina is a largely unorganised cottage/handicraft industry providing employment and livelihood to approximately 6 lakh people, most notably to local skilled villagers and artisans in Kashmir.
      •  In 2019, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) published an Indian Standard for identification, marking and labelling of Pashmina products to certify their purity.
        • In 2021, the BIS released a revised report titled ‘Identification, Labelling and Marking of Pashmina Products’ that mandated directions for incorporating qualitative and quantitative identification of Shahtoosh guard hair.
    • Shahtoosh: It is the fine undercoat fibre obtained from the Tibetan Antelope, known locally as ‘Chiru’, a species living mainly in the northern parts of the Changthang Plateau in Tibet. 
      • As they offer high levels of smoothness and warmth, Shahtoosh shawls became a highly expensive commodity.
        • Unfortunately, due to commercial poaching of the animal, their population declined dramatically. 
        • CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora) included the Tibetan Antelope in 1979 leading to prohibition in sale and trade of Shahtoosh shawls and scarves.