A design by Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, entitled “One Swimming Lesson”, because she did it while her daughter was having a (one) swimming lesson:

This is paisleyesque, though not of course as complex as printed paisley patterns.

Paisley came up here back in February, when I linked to the Wikipedia entry but didn’t quote any of it. Now some more content, taking the pattern back on the order of a millennium, and in the West back about 400 years. And then we get to Scotland.

From Wikipedia:

Paisley or Paisley pattern is a droplet-shaped vegetable motif of Persian origin. The pattern is sometimes called “Persian pickles” by American traditionalists, especially quiltmakers, or “Welsh pears” in Welsh textiles as far back as 1888.

Resembling a twisted teardrop, the kidney-shaped paisley is Iranian origin, but its western name derives from the town of Paisley, in central Scotland.

In Tamil the design is known as Mankolam and has long been used in India. It resembles a mango and has sometimes been associated with Hinduism.

In Persian the design is known as Boteh Jegheh and it has been used in Iran since the Sassanid Dynasty (AD 224 to AD 651).

… Imports from the East India Company in the first half of the 17th century made paisley and other Indian patterns popular, and the Company was unable to import enough to meet the demand. It was popular in the European Baltic states between 1700 and 1800 and was thought to be used as a protective charm to ward off evil demons. However, in modern culture, the youth of these countries have used it as a symbol of rebellion.

Local manufacturers in Marseilles began to mass-produce the patterns via early textile printing processes at 1640. England, circa 1670, and Holland, in 1678, soon followed.

… In the 19th century European production of paisley increased, particularly in the Scottish town from which the pattern takes its modern name. Soldiers returning from the colonies brought home cashmere wool shawls from India, and the East India Company imported more. The design was copied from the costly silk and wool Kashmir shawls and adapted first for use on handlooms, and, after 1820, on Jacquard looms.

From roughly 1800 to 1850, the weavers of the town of Paisley in Renfrewshire, Scotland, became the foremost producers of these shawls.

Two examples:

No doubt you were hoping I’d be able to tell you more about the name of the town Paisley:

Paisley (Scottish Gaelic: Pàislig) is the largest town in the historic county of Renfrewshire in the west central Lowlands of Scotland and serves as the administrative centre for the Renfrewshire council area. The town is situated on the northern edge of the Gleniffer Braes, straddling the banks of the White Cart Water, a tributary of the River Clyde. (link)

Unfortunately, the etymology of Pàislig seems to be unclear.


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