Saturday, April 6, 2013


Paisley motif is formed of regal flowers in a vase. on an 18th century shawl.   

The book, "Mastery of Mughal Decoration:  The Art and Architecture of Islamic India" helps recall the beautiful exhibit perhaps four summers ago at the Detroit Institute of Arts, "The Private World of India's Mughal Emperors".  This Kashmiri design is especially refined with its little floral tips dipping to let us know that this really is the boteh (paisley to the English-speakers) motif.  In 18th century India, the long shawl would be worn by an important man in the society either on the diagonal over one shoulder or as a waist sash.

However, there is another flowering in Detroit that is just as beautiful to me.  It is the new Shinola craft-and-e business concept based on the establishment of local crafts shops.  In the majestic Argonaut building, inside the College for Creative Studies, there is watch factory built on the Swiss crafts model.  In Ste. Genevieve, Mo., there is a leather goods factory.  In Waterford, Wisc., there is the Waterford Precision Cycle Shop. In Chicago, there is the Horween Leather Company.  In Ann Arbor, Mich., there is the Malloy Paper Works.

Often as I read and write about the brilliant days of Kashmiri weaving and see what happened when Europe took over the "paisley" shawl craft, I think of Detroit.  Past mistakes are past mistakes and now Shinola is building small and carefully. Interestingly, the Shinola watch is already a male status symbol, just as the boteh sash once was. Hint:  JP