calico + paisley

Until the mid 17th Century, France imported printed calico from South Asia, known quite literally as Les Indiennes.

Calico originated from Kozhikode, known to the French since the 11th Century as Calicut, a town in Kerala, India.

Many of the fabric prints that we think of as traditionally French, from regions like Provence, are of South Asian and Persian origin.

Paisley is a good example… except that paisley gets its name in English from the Scottish town that produced most of this printed fabric in the early 19th Century. Yes, it’s very confusing.

Other words for paisley include:

boteh jegheh (Persian)
palme (French, no doubt because the shape resembles a palm leaf)
mankolam (Tamil)
Persian pickles (USA)
Welsh pears (er, Welsh)

(Image: detail of Madeline fabric)