Himroo is made on a throw-shuttle loom using cotton in the warp and silk in the weft. Here, at the very beginning of the weaving process, the designs are decided and worked on multiple looms. The weaving is done by interlacing of weft yarns with the warp.
This art originated in Persia. The weaves incorporate plain lines woven in different geometrical designs and patterns with motif designs taken from nature, portraits of rulers and religious verses from the Quran as well as from Hindu mythology. Other popular designs include local fruits, animals, flowers and birds. The actual ornamental design is formed on the principle of extra weft figuring.
The word himroo originated from the Persian word “hum-ruh” which means “similar”. It was developed as a cheaper alternative to kimkhwab, the more lavish brocade of silk and gold thread woven for royalty in the 14th century.
When Delhi was being governed by emperors from the Tuglak dynasty, a noticeable amount of trade was taking place between the Indian and Persian weavers. During this time, when emperor Mohammed Bin Tuglak tried to relocate to Daulatabad in Maharashtra, some precious trade secrets of Persian shawl weaving techniques clandestinely found their way into Aurangabad.
In the Mughal period, weavers who enjoyed imperial patronage began challenging the supremacy of the Persian weavers. The Himroo shawls produced in India evoked intense curiosity in neighboring foreign lands. This not only guaranteed a lucrative export market, but also uplifted the image of the Mughal dynasty.