The Paisley Story

All this week, we’ve shown you some of the gorgeous paisley motif Kanjivaram saris from Sarangi. To celebrate this motif’s beauty even more, here’s a little note about this timeless classic, delving into its origin and journey through the years.

The shape of the famous Paisely pattern, so oft found on saris, kurtis and a milieu of clothing today, actually derive their origin from Iran and India. However its western name “Paisley” is derived from the town of Paisely in central Scotland! Though the design was not invented here it gained immense popularity in the 18th Century and Paisely in Scotland became the epicenter of shawl production with these motifs.

Closer home though; this pattern was called “Mankolam” in Tamil & “Boteh Jegheh” in Persian. The “Mankolam” is the mango shaped design that is often associated with the Hindu religion and its mythology. Very many paintings and pictures depict emperors, kings, princes, gods and goddesses wearing clothes, shawls and finery sporting the ‘Mankolam’. The ‘Boteh Jegheh’ which originated in the Sassanid Dynasty, has also seen its share of fame with the Persian royalty patronizing this beautiful motif. Here the motif is believed to have its origins in Zoroastrianism.

Paisleys seem to have stood the test of time and continue to wield the magic that they have over the centuries, capturing the imagination of weavers and wearers alike!


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