Biomorphic Paisleys

Some early memetically re-engineered Paisley patterns inspired by pattern books from Paisley Museum, The British Library and research into the etymology of the motif in other cultures.

The Paisley Pattern is the English-speaking name given to a teardrop-shaped motif, which in other languages might be referred to as būta or boteh, little pickle, pine or mango seed. The pattern is thought to have originated in Persia (modern-day Iran) in the medieval period and spread along the Silk Road to Kashmir where it was woven into silk shawls. The image evolved under the influence of successive regimes of Hindu, Afghan and Mughal rulers. Kashmir shawls were later exported to Europe via the East India Company. The invention of the Jacquard loom triggered the domestication of the boteh motif in France and Scotland where “imitation Kashmir shawls” were produced. The Scottish town that manufactured these imitation shawls lent them its name - Paisley shawls – that has since become a shorthand name for the pattern: paisley.


With President of Paisley Art Institute Jean Cameron looking at the vinyl mural commissioned by Paisley Is
to accompany PAI's 131st Annual Exhibition, September 2019
Photos: Kieran Chambers

Colourways for Paisley Art Institute 131st Exhibition: