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Its symbolic power has probably played a part. The original Persian droplet-like motif — the boteh or buta — is thought to have been a representation of a floral spray combined with a cypress tree, a Zoroastrian symbol of life and eternity. The seed-like shape is also thought to represent fertility, has connections with Hinduism, and also bears an intriguing resemblance to the famous yin-yang symbol. It is still a hugely popular motif in Iran and South and Central Asian countries and is woven using silver and gold threads on to silks and fine wools for weddings and other celebrations.

The shawls were soon imitated throughout Europe, notably in Wales and the town of Paisley in Renfrewshire, Scotland.

Paisley - Wikipedia

View image of British artists of the late 19th Century were great admirers of the pattern Credit: It was in the 19th Century that the paisley pattern first attracted a rebellious, progressive following. William Morris and the Arts-and-Crafts movement adapted the print, with William Holman Hunt and other Pre-Raphaelites depicting sumptuous paisley textiles in their paintings.

It became an integral part of the Aesthetic Movement and the Art Nouveau Movement — and shorthand for sophisticated, arty bohemianism. Gallagher even founded a clothing brand, Pretty Green, that specialises in the print. Paisley pushes the envelope. View image of This paisley design by Ceraggio was originally a Persian fertility symbol Credit: Copyright of Liberty Fabric Limited. I love symbols that are rich in history Although the fig - or almond -like form is of Persian origin, its English name derives from the town of Paisley , in the West of Scotland , a centre for textiles where paisley designs were produced.

Paisley (design)

The pattern is still commonly seen in Britain and other English-speaking countries on men's ties , but remains popular in other items of clothing in Iran and South and Central Asian countries. Some design scholars [ who? The floral motif was originated in the Sassanid dynasty and later in the Safavid dynasty of Persia — , and was a major textile pattern in Iran during the Qajar and Pahlavi dynasties.

In these periods, the pattern was used to decorate royal regalia , crowns, and court garments, as well as textiles used by the general population. Imports from the East India Company in the first half of the 17th century made paisley and other Indian patterns popular, and the Company was unable to import enough to meet the demand.


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It was popular in the Baltic states between and and was thought to be used as a protective charm to ward off evil demons. Local manufacturers in Marseille began to mass-produce the patterns via early textile printing processes at England, circa , and Holland, in , soon followed. This, in turn, provided Europe's weavers with more competition than they could bear, and the production and import of printed paisley was forbidden in France by royal decree from to However, enforcement near the end of that period was lax, and France had its own printed textile manufacturing industry in place as early at in some locales.

Paisley was not the only design produced by French textile printers; the demand for paisley which created the industry there also made possible production of native patterns such as toile de Jouy.

In the 19th century, European production of paisley increased, particularly in the Scottish town from which the pattern takes its modern name. Soldiers returning from the colonies brought home cashmere wool shawls from India, and the East India Company imported more. The design was copied from the costly silk and wool Kashmir shawls and adapted first for use on handlooms, and, after , [5] on Jacquard looms.

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From roughly to , the weavers of the town of Paisley in Renfrewshire , Scotland , became the foremost producers of Paisley shawls. Unique additions to their hand-looms and Jacquard looms allowed them to work in five colors when most weavers were producing paisley using only two.

By , Paisley could produce shawls with 15 colors, which was still only a quarter of the colors in the multicolor paisleys then still being imported from Kashmir. Printed paisley was cheaper than the costly woven paisley and this added to its popularity.

What Paisley did next...

The key places of printing paisley were Britain and the Alsace region of France. The motifs can still be found on Persian carpets , Azerbaijani rugs , kalaghai shawls and textiles, paintings of decorative-applied arts of Greater Iran Iran, Azarbaijan, etc and also in decorations of architectural monuments. It is widespread in Ganja, Azerbaijan , where it has been an integral part of carpet ornaments. It is woven using gold or silver threads on silk or other high quality textiles for gifts, for weddings and special occasions.

In Iran and Uzbekistan , its use goes beyond clothing, with paintings, jewelry, frescoes, curtains, tablecloths, quilts, carpets, garden landscaping, and pottery also sporting the buta design. In Tamil Nadu the manga maalai mango necklace [9] [10] with matching earrings is a traditional feature of bharathanatyam dance.

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At the Winter Olympics , Azerbaijan 's team sported colorful paisley trousers. Paisley became identified with psychedelic style due to a resurgence in the pattern's mainstream popularity leading up the mid- and late s, partly due to The Beatles. The company Fender made a pink paisley version of their Telecaster guitar, by sticking paisley wallpaper onto the guitar bodies.

Paisley was a favorite design element of British-Indian architect Laurie Baker.