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In the late eighteenth century, textile manufacturers in England and Scotland began to imitate the Kashmir shawl, popular among British ex-patriots living in India, with the town of Paisley taking the lead in creating a five-color loom that could weave reasonable machine-made copies of the handwoven originals at a fraction of the cost.
The name paisley became synonymous with the teardrop/lozenge design (known as a boteh or pine motif) and the shawl (from the Persian word shal, describing a type of woven fabric) was a necessary object in every fashionable woman’s wardrobe.
As clothing styles changed, the shape and length of paisley shawls adapted. During Jane Austen’s time, a long stole-like shawl was most common, worn across the back and draped around each elbow. As hem circumferences widened, the shawl moved to a more square shape, often worn folded into a triangle around the shoulders and trailing down the back. Common among all paisley shawls, though, was the repeating motif of botehs across the bottom edges.