Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Kashmiri shawls have been at the heart of high fashion and sophistication for hundreds of years. Its influence is attributed to not just the timeless conceptualization of fashion but also the design and motifs that has come to adorn much of the fashion accessories that graced the wardrobes of fashion icons throughout the centuries.

Paisley Motif KashmirShawl 1680 575x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Paisley Buta. c 1680. Kashmir Design. A slender plant design derived from persian floral ornament with the naturalism of Mughal art.

From Empress Josephine to One such motif is the Paisley, and its emergence of a deeply set part of Kashmir shawls can be traced as far back as the 1500s. The evolution and contribution of this eternal motif will be explored so that a more complete understanding of the Paisley motif can be had.

Early Beginnings of the Paisley

By the end of the 17th century the timeless motif of the Paisley began to take shape. Its inclusion on the surface of Kashmir shawls started as a slender flowering plant with roots and the original name given to the motif in Kashmir was ‘buta‘ or ‘boteh‘ (a western adaptation of the word buta). There’s some dispute among historians over the origins of this early plant design but the general consensus is that it had Persian origins. This Persian origin was fused with the artistic themes of Mughal art and by the 18th the motif took on a richer decorative and ornate design. More flowers were added to the design and the Persian influence became even more pronounced with the replacement of the roots with the well-known Indo-Persian decorative motif, the vase-of-flowers.

The grand Paisley design we see today emerged as a part of design inspiration of shawl makers in the 17th century. During the period of the Mughal Emperor Akbar (r. 1556–1606), shawl making underwent a massive growth spurt.

Paisley Buta on Kashmiri Paisley Shawls – ca Early 17th Century.

Paisley Kashmir Shawl Shoulder Mantle Mughal Period early 17th century 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Early Buta on Kashmir Shawl used as Shoulder Mantle – Mughal Dynasty.  ca Early 17th Century.

Patka Shoulder Mantle Mughal Dynasty Late 17th Century Brocaded with silk thread and gold thread Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on a Patka – Shoulder Mantle. Mughal Dynasty. ca Late 17th Century. Brocaded with silk thread and gold thread. ca Early 17th Century.

Buta on Shoulder Mantle on a Pala Kashmir Shawl Mughal Dynasty 17th Century  574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on a Shoulder Mantle. Kashmir Pala Shawl. Mughal Dynasty. ca 17th Century

Akbar conquered Kashmir in 1568 and took great interest both in the design and production of Kashmiri shawls as a symbol of love and royal status. He commissioned the construction of workshops dedicated to the manufacture of Kashmiri shawls and went as far as directing his aides to make specific inputs into the way shawls were woven and dyed.

Paisley Motif KashmirShawl 1700 1730 575x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Paisley Buta. c 1700-1730. Kashmir Design. The design evolved in early eighteenth century to more formal motif as the number of flowers increased.

The evolution continued well into the 19th century where the shape hardened into the now well-known Paisley pine cone but its popularity in Europe and the rest of the world was due in large part to the booming shawl trade. By the time Paisley became popular in Europe the motif had reached its design and artistic zenith.

The Booming Shawl Trade (Asia 1500 – 1800)

The boteh developed in Kashmir under the watchful eye of the Mughals and their design aides but its spread and eventual morphing into the iconic Paisley design was down entirely the trade in shawls and demand for these pieces of timeless Kashmiri fashion. From Delhi to Istanbul the Kashmir shawl became a symbol of love and high fashion and demand grew almost exponentially from the early 1500s to the late 1800s. Traders travelled to Kashmir to acquire these timeless pieces and took them as far as Iran where they were worn by the wealthy women; in Russia and places like Turkestan, the Kashmir shawl was seen as the must-have fashion accessory and this fuelled popularity which eventually swept across Europe and the rest of the world. Early traders had no interest in reproducing the beauty and elegance of Kashmir shawls in their own locals but the time European traders got into the heart of the shawl trade things changed.

Paisley Buta on Kashmiri Paisley Shawls – ca 1700-1730.

Buta on Shoulder Mantle on Kashmir Shawl Mughal Dynasty 17th Century 1700 1730 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on Shoulder Mantle on Kashmir Shawl. Mughal Dynasty. ca 1700 -1730.

Buta on Shoulder Mantle Mughal Dynasty 17th Century 1700 1730 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on Shoulder Mantle. Mughal Dynasty. ca 17th Century.

Buta on Waist Band Mughal Dynasty 17th Century 1700 1730 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on Waist Band. Kashmir Shawl. Mughal Dynasty. ca 17th Century.

 

Travellers like William Moorcroft despatched Kashmiri weavers to England with the hope that they’d be able to reproduce the stunning and artistic pieces that were so effortlessly made in the Kashmir valley. At its height the trade in Kashmir shawls saw no fewer than 120,000 weavers and artisans making a living from the industry.

Paisley Motif KashmirShawl 1720 1750 692x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Paisley Buta. c 1700-1730. Kashmir Design. The design started to evolved further into an abstract motif due to the complex nature of the designs being started to be woven on Kashmir shawls.

The burgeoning shawl trade led naturally to an entrepreneurial interest and as shoulder-mantles became popular wealthy business interests started to find ways of imitating much of the art and design of Kashmiri shawl making. Shawl making centres were set up across Europe and places like Norwich in England, and Paris in France started to weave imitations of timeless Kashmiri art. The Paisley had pivotal growth during this time.

English shawl makers had already started to reproduce on a wide scale many of the motifs that came to define Kashmir shawls but the emergence of a shawl making workshop in Paisley, central Scotland became the centre of European shawl making. Paisley shawl making proved so popular it eclipsed the Jacquard loom perfected in France to become the de facto name associated with the boteh. Eventually the boteh gave way to the name ‘Paisley’ and this has remained to this day. It is important to point out though that Kashmiri shawl makers have never sought to move away from the original name and even today the well-known pine cone shape is still called buta in Kashmiri or ‘badaam’  like shape of a almond seed. Kashmiri artisans to this day approach the fine art of shawl making with the skill, dedication and passion of their counterparts centuries ago. From this perspective the boteh/Paisley has come full circle and demonstrates the timeless nature of Kashmiri design and creativity.

Paisley Buta on Kashmiri Paisley Shawls – ca 1700-1730.

Buta on Shoulder Mantle Mughal Dynasty Early 18th Century 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on Shoulder Mantle. Kashmir. Mughal Dynasty, ca Early 18th Century.

Buta on Shoulder Mantle Mughal Dynasty Mid 18th Century 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on Shoulder Mantle. Kashmir. Mughal Dynasty. Mid 18th Century.

Buta on Shoulder Mantle Afghan Period Mid to late 18th Century 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on Waistband. Afghan Period. Kashmir. Mid 18th Century.

 

The shawl industry had a marginal decline near the end of the 19th century but that didn’t dampen the enduring appeal of Kashmir shawls. Today they are as popular as ever and though they are more accessible, they’ve lost none of the ostentatious appeal that made them the choice of European and Asian royalty. The Paisley has transcended the ages too and today its timeless appeal and symbol of love can be found any everything that has a connection to high-fashion, class and extravagance.

Kashmir has once again taken its rightful place as the purveyor of the Paisley design and shawl purists now rely on gatekeepers of shawl making authenticity to supply them with the very best Kashmir Paisley shawls. The Kashmir Company has continued to be a part of that rich history and the rich tapestry of the Paisley is an integral part of the beautiful and timeless shawls that form our exclusive paisley shawl collection.

Paisley Buta on Kashmiri Paisley Shawls – c 1740-1770

Paisley Motif KashmirShawl 1740 1770 708x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Paisley Buta. c 1740-1770. Kashmir Design. Buta design was established as a predominant motif on the Kashmir shawl.

 

Buta on Patka Shoulder Mantle Afghan Period late 18th Century 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on Patka – Shoulder Mantle Afghan Period. Kashmir. Late 18th Century.

Buta on Patka Shoulder Mantle Afghan Period late 18th Century 2 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on Patka – Shoulder Mantle Afghan Period. Kashmir Shawl. Loom woven Pashmina. Late 18th Century.

Buta Waist Band Afghan Period late 18th Century  574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta Waist Band. Kashmir shawl. Afghan Period. Kashmir. Loom woven Pashmina. Late 18th Century.

Paisley Buta on Kashmiri Paisley Shawls – c 1770-1800

Paisley Motif KashmirShawl 1770 1800 627x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Paisley Buta. c 1770-1800. Kashmir Design. Complexity of the Buta design increased as the demand by royals increased. More refined designs with complex buta motif evolved.

 

Buta on Shoulder Mantle. Kashmir Shawl. Afghan Period. Kashmir. ca. 1815 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on Shoulder Mantle. Kashmir Shawl. Afghan Period. Kashmir. ca. 1815

Buta on Shoulder Mantle. Kashmir Shawl. Afghan Period. Kashmir. ca. 1815. 2 575x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on Shoulder Mantle. Kashmir Shawl. Afghan Period. Kashmir. ca. 1815.

Buta on Shoulder Mantle. Kashmir Shawl. Afghan Period. Kashmir. ca. 1815. 3 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on Shoulder Mantle. Kashmir Shawl. Afghan Period. Kashmir. ca. 1815.

Paisley Buta on Kashmiri Paisley Shawls – c 1815 onwards.

Paisley Motif KashmirShawl 1815 onwards 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Paisley Buta. c 1815 onwards. Kashmir Design. Most of Kashmiri Shawls created for markets like Russia, Persian, India and Europe has buta design as a standard. Buta motif was brand onto itself and a symbol of Kashmiri Designers pride.

 

Buta on Kashmir Shawl. Afghan Period. Kashmir. ca. 1810 1840 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on Kashmir Shawl. Afghan Period. Kashmir. ca. 1810 – 1840.

Buta on Kashmir Shawl. Afghan Period. Kashmir. Pashmina. ca. Early Mid 19th Century 575x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on Kashmir Shawl. Afghan Period. Kashmir. Pashmina. ca. Early – Mid 19th Century.

Buta on Kashmir Shawl. Sikh Period. Kashmir. Pashmina. ca. Mid 19th Century 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Buta on Kashmir Shawl. Sikh Period. Kashmir. Pashmina. ca. Mid 19th Century.

Paisley Buta on Kashmiri Paisley Shawls – c 1820-1830

Paisley Motif KashmirShawl 1820 1830 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Paisley Buta. c 1820-1830. Kashmir Design. Overwhelming demand for Kashmir Buta design Shawls from the West, Russia and Indian Royalty boosted the innovation of the kashmir shawl designs and buta motif was now a trademark which the west started to copy and imitate due to the increasing demand.

 

Complex and Sophisticated Buta Paisley on Long Kashmir Paisley Shawl. Sikh Period. Kashmir. Pashmina. ca. Mid 19th Century 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Complex and sophisticated Buta Paisley on Long Kashmir Paisley Shawl. Sikh-Period. Kashmir. Pashmina. ca. Mid 19th Century.

Complex and Sophisticated Buta Paisley on Long Kashmir Paisley Shawl. Sikh Period. Kashmir. Pashmina. ca. Mid 19th Century1 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Complex and Sophisticated Buta/Paisley on Long Kashmir Paisley Shawl. Sikh Period. Kashmir. Pashmina. ca. Mid 19th Century.

Complex and Sophisticated Buta Paisley on Long Kashmir Paisley Shawl. Sikh Period. Kashmir. Pashmina. ca. Mid 19th Century2 575x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Complex and Sophisticated Buta/Paisley on Long Kashmir Paisley Shawl. Sikh Period. Kashmir. Pashmina. ca. Mid 19th Century.

Paisley Buta on Kashmiri Paisley Shawls – c 1850-1870

Paisley Motif KashmirShawl 1850 1870 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Paisley Buta. c 1850-1870. Kashmir Design. Very complex designs with buta design started appearing due to the French and British influences. Buta was started to be called Paisley due to the Imitation Shawls being created in Paisley, England copying Kashmiri Designs. Also, new Paisley designs started to appear from the Jacquard looms in France and England.

 

Kashmir Paisley Shawl Shoulder Mantel. Sikh Dogra Period. ca 1845 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Kashmir Paisley Shawl – Shoulder Mantel. Sikh – Dogra Period. ca 1845.

Kashmir Paisley Shawl Shoulder Mantel. Sikh Dogra Period. 19th Century 574x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Kashmir Paisley Shawl – Shoulder Mantel. Sikh – Dogra Period. 19th Century.

Kashmir Paisley Pashmina Jamawar Shawl. Sikh Dogra Period. Kashmir. 19th Century. Suzani on Kani Woven Shawl 575x1024 Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Kashmir Paisley Pashmina Amlikar Jamawar Shawl. Sikh – Dogra Period. Kashmir. 19th Century. Suzani on Kani Woven Shawl.

Design from a shawl weavers pattern book. Acquired in Kashmir in 1881 VA Kashmir Paisley Shawl and its Enduring Contribution to the Paisley Motif

Design from a Naqqash pattern artist & shawl weaver’s pattern-book. Kashmir. ca 1881.

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