A shawl is a simple item of clothing, loosely worn over the shoulders, upper body and arms, and sometimes also over the head. It is usually a rectangular or square piece of cloth, that is often folded to make a triangle but can also be triangular in shape. Other shapes include oblong shawls.Shawls were also part of the traditional male costume in Kashmir, which was probably introduced via assimilation to Persian culture. They were woven in extremely fine woollen twill, some such as the Orenberg shawl.
The majority of the woollen fabrics of Kashmir, and particularly the best quality shawls, were and are still made of Pashm or Pashmina, which is the wool of the Capra hircus, a species of the wild Asian mountain goat. Hence the shawls came to be called Pashmina. The fine fleece used for the shawls is that which grows under the rough, woolly, outer coat of the animal; that from the under-belly, which is shed on the approach of hot weather. Materials of an inferior grade were of the wool of the wild Himalayan mountain sheep or the Himalayan Ibex. However, the best fleece wool is soft, silky and warm is of the wild goats, and painstakingly gathered from shrubs and rough rocks against which the animals rub off their fleece on the approach of summer. This was undoubtedly the soft fleece wool from which were made the famous and much coveted ‘ring shawls’ in Mughal times. Unfortunately very inferior and second rate wool taken from domesticated sheep and goats provide most of the wool used today on the looms of Kashmir.source