Paisley Motif

The Charm of the Paisley Motif: It's Origin and Beyond

10 September, 23

5 min read

Beige Paisley Sarees By Taneira

Unraveling the Timelessless of the Paisley Motif

The paisley is a story from more than hundreds of years ago, and continues to fascinate hearts and minds even today. From fascinating connotations in different cultures to its incredible design, the paisley continues to be loved by generations of people.

Do you love the paisley pattern as much as we at Taneira do? Come, let’s deep dive and explore its origin, understand what it means and see how it has evolved over centuries.

The Origins of the Paisley Motif

The mesmerizing paisley pattern boasts of a rich history and has immense cultural significance attached to it. It is believed that the pattern was first used in ancient Persia, where the inspiration was drawn from a Cypress tree, which is regarded as a symbol of life and eternity. This tear-drop shaped design with a curved tip has also been associated with spirituality and abundance in the past. It is believed that the usage of the paisley motif helps establish a sense of balance and harmony with nature. Different cultures have seen the paisley resembling a lotus, mango, dragon and even the popular symbol yin-yang.

Originally known as ‘buta’ or ‘buteh,’ the paisley motif was extensively used while making royal garments. It was during the Mughal Empire in the 16th century that this motif made its way to Kashmir, India. The highly skilled and meticulous artisans of Kashmir began to incorporate the versatile paisley motif onto their exquisite shawls. The rich textile traditions of Kashmir combined with the paisley motif to create the luxurious Pashmina shawls. The buta was intricately woven onto the shawls to create timeless patterns and heirloom pieces.

The elegant paisley-patterned shawls soon became a status symbol. The luxurious and warm Kashmiri shawls gained popularly and were much sought after by European aristocrats. The East India Company played an important role in opening up this trade route. As a result, paisley shawls from India were imported to all parts of the European continent, which greatly influenced the fashion trends in Europe in the coming years.

The Cultural Influences of the Paisley Motif

The paisley motif emerged as an iconic symbol especially during the counterculture movement in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. The vibrance of the motif, its form and shape, and the depth with which paisley motifs were designed on different textures made it seem exotic and a part of the psychedelic subculture. People began associating it with something that was unconventional, free-spirited and in line with their idea of change.

The swirling patterns of the paisley print, its exuberant colours and its connection to the Indian culture fascinated the counterculture groups, including the hippies. Rock music artists of the time like Jimi Hendrix and The Grateful Dead often featured the paisley pattern on their album covers. The Beatles further popularized the motif when John Lennon painted his Rolls-Royce in colourful psychedelic designs.

Around this time, the paisley print became an indomitable part of pop culture. It was featured on not just textiles but also bags, jewellery, ceramics, home décor, living spaces and everywhere else.

The Revival of Paisley in India

The revival of the charming paisley motif represents India’s rich textile history and celebrates its traditional craftsmanship. Taneira strongly supports the revival of all traditional crafts of India, and paisley is one such treasure. We continually strive to establish meaningful partnerships with skilled artisans to bring this artform to the forefront.

An important step in this direction is the usage of the paisley motif in traditional and contemporary ways to create ensembles that the people of today would love to wear. As we curate a handpicked collection of handloom sarees for you, we collaborate with talented artists who incorporate various types of paisleys into the saree designs.

Yellow Pure Paisley Cotton Bagh Sarees By Taneira
Yellow Pure Cotton Bagh Printed Saree

Be it a traditional Banarasi saree with zari paisley buta all over, or a modern Georgette saree with the motif embellished on it, Taneira offers a wide range to choose from. While some sarees can have intricate paisley borders printed or embellished on the palla, others may have woven, printed or embellished designs all over. What’s more, paisley motifs are often used along with florals designs, animal and bird prints or geometric patterns on sarees.

The Fusion of Paisley Design into the Contemporary Fashion World

Transcending time and cultural boundaries, the enchanting paisley pattern as a form of artistic expression has been used across industries. It has been used in varied forms in textiles, jewellery, interior decoration, architecture, pottery…and the list goes on.

At Taneira, we work closely with artisans so they can continue practicing the craft and create beautiful saree designs that are popular today. Sincere efforts to sustain traditional paisley weaving and printing techniques are made via innovations in design. The result is an amalgamation of the age-old traditional art form and contemporary outfit styles that are an integral part of the ever-evolving fashion industry.

Choose from paisley-patterned sarees in a range of fabrics like Georgette, Chiffon, Cotton, Silk and more at a Taneira store near you. You can also explore the collection online at and order your favourites from the comfort of your home. Taneira’s Silk sarees with the paisley motif in its most traditional form are ideal for weddings. On the other hand, simpler paisley motifs in pastel colours look beautiful on summer Cotton sarees as well as suit sets for daily wear.

With its ancient origins and global appeal, each outfit with paisley motifs tells a story. So which tale are you going to retell today?