Also Botteh; the Indian name for a globally distinctive motif of Persian origin, variously described as the shape of pinecones, pears or droplets. Also known in the west as Paisley print or pattern, it appears in traditional textiles of communities living along the old trading routes.
* Boteh translates as bush, thicket or cluster of leaves. It is always a curvilinear motif with a curled top, resembling both fruit and leaf with many variations of shape and scale. It can be a simply carved shape for hand block printing in stylised design, or a more complex multi formed pattern for linked repetition.
* As a large design, the outline holds other smaller motifs within it and then becomes itself the vehicle for playful decoration and pattern around the outer edges of the motif.
* Indian weavers during the Mughal period used the motif extensively, calling it the buta, especially in their stunningly beautiful Kashmiri woven shawls.
* Such shawls found their way to Europe as from the 17th C through the East India companies, where the design was immediately successful.
* In the UK, the Scottish town of Paisley,fell in love with the motif and started using it extensively in their own woolen weaves. Everything was initially hand-woven until 1820, when the works were transferred to the new Jacquard looms.
* The boteh motif has proved itself iconic, versatile and useful, multi-dimensional and multi-coloured, delightful on its own, worked in with roses, checks and stripes. Originally appearing only in soft cashmere, it is now available in any soft wool, cotton, silk, viscose or mixes. In furnishings it is highly familiar as a simple, printed or woven swirling motif, and is perfect for curtains, bedcovers, seats, curtains, walls and sheets, as well as for garments.
* In the fashion world the motif has come and gone bar the brilliantly innovative Italian designers Etro, who have long used it as their signature logo. Each season they explore traditional and contemporary ideas, in various forms, in combination with roses and pretty much anything, producing unexpected twists of colour and co-ordination.
** After many years of inferior commercial production, Jenny Housego is currently working successfully with Kashmiri families and communities to revive the hand-making tradition of a lost generation. It’s a real privilege, and very satisfying, to see how worldwide recognition of this exquisite workmanship is directly affecting the fortunes of real families, to feel the uniquely soft cashmere, and to witness designs and patterns, which might so easily have been lost, resurrected.