This is Randi Hacker with another Postcard from Abroad from the KU Centers for East Asian Studies and Global and International Studies.
Okay. Word association. Just say the first thing that comes into your mind when I say… Paisley. Groovy fashion from the psychedelic ‘60’s? 19th century aristocrats wrapped in Kashmir shawls? Henna tattoos on the hands of Indian women? All correct and all proving the globality of this popular pattern which actually originated in Iran back in the 3rdcentury B.C.E. It is known as boteh jegheh in Persian with boteh meaning a bush or shrub or sometimes even a palm leaf. The familiar design is probably meant to recall the cypress tree, a symbol of eternity and life in Zoroastrianism. It’s most widely-used moniker comes from Scotland. In the 19th century, the village of Paisley turned out so much boteh jegheh that soon enough the town name became synonymous with the pattern name. For which the Artist Formerly Known as Prince is ever grateful: Boteh Jegheh Park? I don’t think so.
With thanks to Jessica Irving for this text, from the Center for East Asian Studies, this is Randi Hacker. Wish you were here.