Visual Encyclopedia

Paisley (design)

Paisley or Paisley pattern is a term in English for a design using the buta or boteh, a droplet-shaped vegetable motif of Persian origin that resembles a twisted teardrop. Paisley designs became very popular in the West in the 18th and 19th centuries, following imports of post-Mughal Empire versions of the design from India, especially in the form of Kashmir shawls, and were then imitated locally. Although the fig-shaped paisley is of Persian origin, its western name derives from the town of Paisley, in West Scotland, a centre for textiles where paisley designs were produced. The pattern is still commonly seen in Britain and other English-speaking countries with men's ties but remains popular in other items of clothing in Iran and South and Central Asian countries. 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 – paintings, jewelry, frescoes, curtains, tablecloths, quilts, carpets, garden landscaping, and pottery also sport the buta design. In Uzbekistan the most frequently found item featuring the design is the traditional doppi headdress. In Tamil Nadu the manga maalai (mango necklace) with matching earrings is a traditional feature of bharathanatyam dance. It is a prominent design in Kanchipuram saris. It has sometimes been associated with Hinduism.

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