Double Purple Paisley Handkerchief


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This deep purple "paisley" handkerchief came to the collection with no provenance.  In the 90's while visiting the Institute paisley shawl expert, Arlene Cooper appears to have assigned it a date of 1830. There are no other notes, so we can't know her thoughts.  We do know that we have seen similar designs much earlier.  In India known as a buta or boteh  meaning flower, the pattern was used to adorn all manner of items till the middle of the 18th century.  Its popularity globally was forged by the East India Company in the early 18th century when it began to import shawls and other textiles adorned with the motif.  It's popularity continued to flourish and led to the town of Paisley in Scotland  becoming a major manufacturer of the pattern in shawls, thus the name "paisley" was adopted.  Our handkerchief is  block printed, in two tones of purple a popular color in the 18th and on into the 19th century.  

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