ORIGINS OF THE PAISLEY

by admin on August 30, 2011

boteh motif

paisley skirt

paisleys are in these days, and esme has been keeping her eyes open for just the right paisley blouse or perhaps a paisley skirt.  mr. noir had spotted one a while back when we were up in the palo alto nordstrom (a nice blouse by citron) but esme was focused on nydj jeans at the time and didn’t really take it in.

i’ll bet you didn’t know that the paisley design originated in india in the 1600’s.  in those days, indian men wore kashmir shawls (knit from the hair of cashmere goats) that were decorated with a motif derived from a date-palm shoot (called a boteh).

the first recorded appearance of the paisley design occurred in london in 1765, when an englishwoman who had been visiting bombay appeared in a cashmere shawl purchased there (from SURVEY OF HISTORIC COSTUME by tortora and eubank).  the paisley became quite popular in england in the 1800’s.  english fabricators produced paisley shawls in wool and silk, and the shape of the paisley itself morphed from palm frond to pine cone.  eventually, a scottish town by the name of paisley became known as a premiere producer of the shawls;  thence the name paisley for the design.  who woulda thunk??

note:  esme searched all over the internet and could not find one image of her remembered citron paisley blouse:  could she have dreamed it???

questioning reality,

esme

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