Boteh-Jegheh (a.k.a Paisley), is an asymmetrical geometric floral pattern that signifies royal sovereignty, and nobility. It was the focal design in the headgears of the Iranian kings since Shah Abbas the great (1642-1666) of the Safavid Empire of Iran .
Boteh Jegheh on the crown of Shah Abbas II of Iran
Nader Shah Afshar ( 1688 – 1747) one of the most powerful Iranian kings, adorned his royal Jegheh with diamonds and emeralds after his conquest of India.
Boteh_Jegheh on the Crown of Nader Shah Afshar Emperor of Iran ( 1688-1747)
|Jegheh-e-Naderi in Iran's National Jewelry Museum|
Fath-Ali Shah of Qajar (1797-1834) had a number of different Jeghehs depicted in his numerous portraits.
|Fath-Ali Shah of Qajar,|
|Boteh -Jegheh of Crown of Fath-Ali Shah |
| A Safavid period helmet. Kolah Khood|
Some authors have speculated about the origin of the Paisley pattern, theorizing, without offering any evidence, that it has originated in ancient Babylon , possibly dating back to 1700 BC. An alternative speculation, also without any evidence suggests that it is derived from a Zoroastrian symbol of fire. Some have related it to cypress tree, as a Zoroastrian symbol of eternity and life! It is argued that its floral motif originates from the Sassanid dynasty (200-650 AD)- the last Persian Empire before the rise of Islam, and its peculiar shape emanates from the impact of the Arab invasion, which is reflected in the tree being bent, symbolising the sorrow the nation!
However, one does not see this pattern in any of Zoroastrian fire temples. In contrast, the pattern is clearly visible in one of the oldest mosques called the Noh Gumbad Mosque, to the southwest of city of Balkh, in Afghanistan, built in the first half of the ninth century.
|Noh Gumbad Mosque|
Noh Gumbad, refers to the nine vaults or domes that covered the original structure. These domes have since fallen, and the walls and columns of the mosque are buried in a more than a meter of mud-brick fragments.
Built of mud bricks and covered with plaster, the mosque was richly decorated on the interior with deeply carved arabesques covering the capitals, imposts, spandrels and soffits of the arcades. This stucco decoration, although weather-worn, has largely remained. The surfaces of the columns feature a crisscross pattern made of headers above a base -- largely buried -- of arabesque carvings. Floral medallions clearly depict Boteh Jegheh patterns.
|Masjid-i Noh Gunbad - Interior detail showing carved paisley motifs on capital|
|Masjid-i Noh Gunbad - Interior detail showing decoration on northeast face of column, capital, impost and arch soffit|
The use of Boteh Jegheh pattern have continued through time in other mosques such as the early 19th century mosque of Nasir-ol-Molk in Shiraz.
|Mosaic circa early 19 century, from the mosque of Nasir-ol-Molk in Shiraz|
|Dome of mosque of Nasir-ol-Molk in Shiraz|
Traditionally, Boteh Jegheh patterns was also used in the design of an Iranian high-quality hand-woven cloth called Termeh, that was used in the high officials and courtiers costumes called Khalaat.
|Termeh is a handicraft, which is woven with silk and wool and sometimes with gold and silver. Today it is mainly used for decorative purposes in important ceremonies|
|Mohannad Shah Qajar, Emperor of Iran (1808-1848)|
|Mirza Taghi Khan Farahani, Amirkabir (1807 -1852)|
|A Qajar Nobleman|
|Religious and political advisers of Nasser-ed-Din shah, (1848-96) Emperor of Iran, ceramic featuring paisley printed robes from Isfahan, Iran|
The Iranian cities of Yazd and Kerman have the reputation of producing high-quality termeh. Yazdi and Kermani termeh were traded along the Silk Roads. Marco Polo, passed through Yazd in 1272 AD and wrote:
|Boteh-Jegheh on the headgear of princes - 16th century Safavid miniature |
Yazd also is properly in Persia; it is a good and noble city, and has a great amount of trade. They weave there quantities of a certain silk tissue known as Yazdi, which merchants carry into many quarters to dispose of.
Termeh were also manufacturing in Kashmir in the northern India and in the Fergana valley (presently in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan). Yazdi silk designs do share some similarities with Fergana silks and Kermani shaals competed with Kashmiri shawls.
|A noble Qajar woman in Termeh skirt|
Moses Younglove Ransom was an art furniture maker in the US. He made at least two Boteh shaped tables sometime in the 1880's. Ransom was known for his Middle Eastern influenced furniture and his invention of Moorish Fretwork. I have some photos of this table on my July 6,2019 posting on my Moorish Fretwork page on Facebook.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this post! I very much enjoyed the pictures and the brief history you provided of paisley! :)ReplyDelete