Paisley is the term to describe the Persian buta or boteh, a droplet-shaped vegetable motif. Researchers believe that the design is a mix of a cypress tree and a stylized floral spray, a symbol of one of the world’s oldest religions - Zoroastianism. Zoroastrians believe this to be a representation of life and eternity.
Paisley originated during the Sassanid Dynasty and was widely used in textiles for royals and common folk. It made its way to Europe via the East India Company in the 17th century, via the Kashmir shawl. England, Holland, and France all began to mass produce printed paisley. France banned the manufacturing and importation of paisley from 1686 to 1759 as Europe had seen such a spike in production.
The pattern received its modern name from the town of Paisley in Renfrewshire, Scotland, in the 1800s. Soldiers had brought the beautiful shawls from India back home and they were quickly being reproduced on handlooms. This allowed for more colors to be adopted into the designs and at a cheaper cost.
The pattern’s resurgence in the 1960s gave paisley its connotation with psychedelic style, something you can thank the Beatles for! Paisley has remained in culture as part of bohemian design, with its bright colors deep symbolism.