blog back next

The history of the paisley

October 03, 2012

The paisley is a playful shape in constant motion, and its history sees it traveling the planet through a variety of uses, appearances, and associations. The twisted teardrop or kidney-shape is of Iranian origin, but its western name derives from the town of Paisley, in central Scotland. In Persian design, the Boteh Jegheh dates back to 224 CE. Also known simply as Boteh among some scholars, they believe it is the stylized fusion of a floral bouquet and a cypress tree like the Zoroastrian symbol of life and eternity. The paisley's versatility has helped to make it a popular motif on royal regalia. It has also graced textiles and ornaments of the general population including jewelry, paintings, bedding, and curtains, on tablecloths, dinnerware and carpets. Woven in single or two-tone combinations of precious silk and mass produced by printing in striking multi-colored arrays, the paisley has danced through Pakistan, Uzbekistan, India, France, the UK, and America, donning everything from royalty's finest Kashmir scarves to the lowliest farmer's bandana. Paisley rose to new fame with the advent of Rock and Roll music as witnessed on Beatles paraphernalia and even on Fender Guitars. Prince created the Paisley Park Records recording label and established Paisley Park Studios. And no one can quibble with the lasting legacy of the paisley following the 2010 Winter Olympics when Azerbaijan's team sported colorful paisley trousers.