Flowers are everywhere, in life as in  printed and woven patterns. They can be small, tight motifs, in rows of buds, all-over in rambling mode, stylized and formal, in bunches, in cornucopia or trailing, supported by geometric patterns or random foliage.

Naturalistic designs, from simple hand block printing to the most complex brocades, have always depended for inspiration, and developed from, interpretations of the local flora and fauna.

Floral motif really is the start and finish of all printed and woven design; aside from strict lines or geometry and figurative representations, such as ships or animals, all other pattern is floral based.

The earliest printed textiles from the Indus, Gujarat and Rajasthan form the basis for many global and European printed small stylised motifs, being simple to design and print.

In Persian design, flowers and plants especially rose to prominence in gardens and textile design from the reign of Babur, the first Moghul emperor (1526-30), whose passion for creating beautiful gardens was carried on throughout the Moghul reign. Another famous Moghul Emperor, Mughal Jahangir 1605-27, of Hindu birth and Muslim persuasion, commissioned one of his court painters, Mansur, to paint over 100 spring flowers, which were carefully documented. The naturalistic floral depictions as painted by  Mansur and other artists for Jahangir became more stylised under his son Shah Jahan,who built the world famous Taj Mahal, evolving into widely used decorative motifs.

Fabrics influenced directly by Persian and Indian flora and fauna include crewel, ari, les indiennes, provencal, boteh, paisley, boutis, ajrakh, kalamkari, coromandel, the tree of life, Bagru, Sanganar, calicoes, Palampores and all hand block printing, …


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