Symbolism in Henna: Paisleys

     Symbolism within henna:

     Paisleys are a droplet shaped motif, one of the most common repetitions seen in henna.  Originating as a pattern in Persia, and soon gained popularity in Iran, and South and Central Asia.  Incredibly diverse, paisleys can be simple or ornate, and are seen often as a stand-alone design, or as one of the most effective elements in dressing up or filling out a more complicated design.  Paisleys symbolize abundance, fertility, and good luck.  For this reason, paisleys are an essential element of bridal henna.   

      Why do paisleys symbolize wealth and abundance?  They were actually a pattern heavily used by royalty in India.  It is thought that kings and royalty in India used to used to dip the side of their curled up fist into ink, and use the side of their hand as a stamp to sign their name.  This comma-like shape evolved into the elaborate paisleys seen today.  In a wedding henna design, paisleys symbolize royalty, and abundance because of the agricultural significance.  Paisleys not only look organic, but were used as a symbol for harvests of fruits and vegetables being ripe, plentiful, and ready for picking.  
     Paisleys have sometimes been called "Persian Pickles" or "Welsh Pears", and have become a popular pattern all over the world is several cultures.  Paisleys likely spread in popularity through textiles, and especially patterned Kashmir shawls and scarves.  Seen in the hippy and flower child trends of the 60s, and still seen in clothing and textiles today, Paisleys may be one of the most eternally popular and celebrated designs of all time.