General Question

jballou's avatar

What is the origin and history behind the Paisley pattern?

Asked by jballou (2106 points ) June 10th, 2008
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

6 Answers

Seesul's avatar

There is a great wikipedia article on it. I have a teaching minor in textiles and I checked it over and it is exactly what I learned about it years ago in college. Just use the search term paisley.

marinelife's avatar

From http://StraightDope.com:
“Paisley is actually an ornate pattern that was commonly used for 19th-century shawls manufactured in the town of Paisley, a textile center in Scotland. The Scots stole the idea from similarly patterned cashmere shawls made in Kashmir from goat fleece (cashmere-Kashmir, get it?), which began to be imported from India around 1800. The traditional explanation for the commalike paisley motif is that it’s a pine cone, but if so it’s the damnedest pine cone I ever saw. Textile historian Martin Hardingham has a better idea; he says it’s “more directly identifiable with the cashew fruit and seed pod which has been a symbol of fertility for thousands of years.””

gailcalled's avatar

I’ve heard that the motif (I thought it originated in Persia, but I am doing this from memory) was supposed to be a subtle rendition of a testicle. If we are talking fertility,...cashew seems to be stretching things,

lefteh's avatar

It did originate in Persia, but its use became well known in Paisley, Scotland.

marinelife's avatar

I’ve known some testicles the size of cashews . . . (only briefly of course.)

vanslonski's avatar

*** Having pondered upon this very question myself, I sought to discover whether the invention of the microscope and subsequent revealing of the Paramecium, had any correlation to the famed Paisley print design. Any one agree?

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