Updated: Jan 30
Paisleys are one of the most common designs to be found woven on silk sarees; be it in the form of gold zari motives or thread work. What is the history of this design? How did ‘the paisley come to have such a strong influence on the design and crafting of sarees in India? Read more to find out!
There is a small town in Scotland called Paisley, which was responsible for creating this beautiful pattern, now found all over the world. Hence this ‘tear shaped’ motif was called ‘The Paisley’. Many centuries ago, while India was trading with Persia, this motif found its way to South India. When the locals saw the motif, they referred to it as 'Manga' or "Raw Mango', because that is how they interpreted the design.
There is a small town in Scotland called Paisley, which was responsible for creating this beautiful pattern
A deeper meaning
Motifs or Bhuttas, like any other art form is subject to interpretation. We have our own, and ours is based on a story.
"Do you not miss Krishna, after all you spent all your time singing and dancing with him?" asked Radha's mother. Radha remained silent. She closed her eyes, and Krishna happened within her. All the music happened within her. Tears of ecstasy poured from her eyes. Her tears fell on the ground, on a seed. And the seed grew into a lush, beautiful tree which was completely in union with the lord, existence, with Krishna. The fruits of this tree was eaten by everyone who could experience Radha’s love for Krishna.
To us, The Paisley is a symbol of tears of devotion, as expressed by a devotee who has merged with existence. To us, this motif contains within itself so many stories of love, joy and eternal happiness.
To us, The paisley is a symbol of tears of devotion, as expressed by a devotee who has merged with existence.
The art and design
The sari is our canvas and weaving, our form of expression of art. The Paisley or Manga Bhutta is usually woven as a Bhutta in the body of the sari. But in some of our kanjivarams we have woven it in the border or is in the paloo. While the motif has a simple shape, we can add complexity to it by adding meenakari work or intricate floral elements inside the paisley.
An intricate paisley pattern, to be woven in pure silk. The paisley, to this day, is a relevant design in Indian textiles.