Paisley is back…did it ever leave?

May 20th 2016
By: Melanie Hollidge

If you are doing a bit of St Albans home redecorating and maybe changing some of your interior features you can never go wrong with a bit of Paisley. Paisley is an historic design that has become a classic pattern used the world over and never really goes out of fashion.
 
Originally it is widely agreed that the paisley symbol originated in Persia 200-650 AD during the rule of the Sassanians who kept the Romans at bay for centuries. This empire included what we know roughly as the Middle East, the Caucasus and central Asia. The symbol began to appear on Persian fabrics in the early C16th. The symbol was called Boteh (the Persian word for shrub or cluster of leaves) which is visually a combination of a spray of floral elements and a cypress tree.
 
Centuries later the shape was called Buta almond or bud - the national symbol of Azerbaijan to this day. It could also be an adaptation of the yin-yang symbol used in ancient Chinese medicine and philosophy. Many different cultures have used the paisley symbol and consider it to represent many objects including a cashew fruit, a mango or a sprouting date palm, an Indian symbol of fertility. Paisleys also have their place in Celtic tradition.
 
The paisley pattern mainly evolved in The Kingdom of Kashmir and The East India Company started to import paisley shawls. British production of woven shawls began in 1790 in Norwich, England but to a much greater extent in 1805 in the small town of Paisley, Scotland. In C19th Britain the paisley shawl was the ‘must-have’ accessory of its day, a status symbol worn for important occasions. The intricate dynamic interlocking shapes of paisley patterns, in exciting colour combinations continue to appeal even a paisley pattern cushion cover could bring something to any St Albans home.
 
Source: Patrick Morriarty