Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Lovely Old Printed Paisley Shawl

I'm currently listing a very beautiful old printed paisley shawl here on eBay. These are usually deemed to be less collectable than the woven variety and they were certainly a cheaper option, but these days they are still rare - they were quite a delicate item, and it isn't often that one survives in this condition. A closer examination of this particular piece illustrates why it has survived. Possibly dating from as early as 1850 (it has a large cream centre, with long 'boteh' or ferns at each end, and the pattern intrudes prettily into the middle) it has obviously been cherished. The colours are as bright and clear as the day it was made, and the few holes - a couple in the middle, and a little patch of wear in the coloured border - have been very carefully darned. I like to imagine that this might once have been a wedding gift from a young husband to his wife. These fine wool shawls, printed in lovely clear colours, would have been used as a lighter option in spring and summer. Nowadays people use them as throws and wall hangings. So long as you keep them out of direct sunlight and away from moths, they could last for another hundred and fifty years - although I doubt if many people nowadays could do this wonderful subtle neat darning! I certainly couldn't.

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