Paisley Prints: From Ancient Persia To Today

Raise your hand if you like a good paisley print! **Stretches hand to the ceiling** Thought so! Bold, boho and always on trend, we would be as mad as a hatter if we didn’t welcome this print into our home with open arms.

But what if I gave you a bit of a paisley pop quiz? Where does it originate from? Are their meanings behind the prints? Luckily, I’ve scrubbed up on my paisley knowledge and am ready to serve you with a brief history of these punchy prints.

So read on for all and everything about paisley prints…

The Origin Of Paisley Prints


(Photo Source:

Ok… so this one is a bit of a shocker… often being associated with ethnic prints and bohemian culture, we would perhaps expect the word paislet to originate from India or the far East.Guess again, these babies the world paisley itself originates from **insert drum roll* Scotland!

Better known for haggis and tartan, the Scots are certainly the Einstein’s of the print world. Paisley is named after the town of, well, ahem, Paisley in Western Scotland. The town had a large factory that produced these prints.

Although many may give the Scot’s credit for paisley itself, the actual print originated from ancient Persian culture. The original floral motif dates waaay back to 200-650 AD during the rule of the Sassanians.

Azerbaijani researchers believe that the print comes from the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism and remains the national symbol of Azerbaijan to this day.

Paisley patterns came to the west in the 18th Century, predominately from the region of Kashmir in India, and the prints became a status symbol for rich, Western individuals.


(Photo Source:

Due to the region of Kashmir being the predominant provider of this funky print, India became synonymous with the paisley. The paisley is often associated with Indian philosophies and cultures.

In later years, it became a symbol of an artistic, alternative lifestyle and of rebellion. It featured in the artistic works of The Pre-Raphalites, a rebellious art movement that wished to take art back to it’s detailed and complex forms and away from the ‘mechancisms’ of the Mannerist artists.

Paisley print was famously worn by rebellious author Oscar Wilde, who stated: “One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art”. (Source:

The Meaning Of Paisley Prints

The original Persian motif, know as a buta, is a symbol of life and eternity. In Zoroastrianism, the paisley was thought to represent a flora spray and a cypress tree.

In India and in Buddhism, the paisley is associated with fertility, due to its seed-like shape. This meaning has transcended into modern culture, with many believing that the print represents both fertility and the tree of life.

Paisley Prints In Modern Culture


(Photo Source:

Paisley prints sprang back into fashion during the youth culture revolt of the 1960s. Associated with the psychodelic hippy movement, paisleys were seen on The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Beatles. In fact, John Lennon even had a Paisley Painted Rolls-Royce!

Paisley also had a significant role in homosexual culture in both the 60s and 70s. In San Francisco, gay men invented ‘the handkerchief codes’, in which they sported a paisley handkerchief in their back pocket to state their sexuality.


(Photo Source:

Paisley prints in the 60s and 70s undoubtedly shaped our views about this print today, which is commonly known for it’s boho vibes and multicultural elements. Lucky for us paisley lovers, the print is currently right at the top of the trend charts! Wear it on you, style your home with it…. it’s time to embrace paisley in all its pretty glory!

Styling Paisley For Your Home

If you like your decor to be wild, colorful and free, you NEED some paisley print in your abode. To keep it looking chic and modern, I suggest opting for pops of paisley print in amongst solid colors and textures.


(Photo Source:

Now this is boho-minimal done perfectly! Scandi shapes and clean whites make way for that statement paisley print bedding.


(Photo Source:

If you prefer your paisley in high doses, this exotic bathroom will be right up your alley! Teamed with an exotic, statement mirror, this bathroom will truly bring the east to your home.

Our Paisley Picks

Ready for a paisley fix? Here at Banarsi Designs we are all about that paisley! With all products hand crafted in India, you are getting the real deal too! Here’s our top paisley picks to give your home that boho edge!


From top left: floral paisley placemats, paisley embroidered pillow cover, jacquard paisley table runner, paisley leaf pillow cover, chic jacquard table runner

Don’t you just feel like a paisley expert? Stay tuned for part two, when we look at paisley in fashion!


Rachel Holliday

Rachel Holliday

Interior design and fashion contributor at Banarsi Designs. Writer and Aussie-based fashion and personal style blogger at