Mango-kairi-kalka-paisley: Design inIndian art from architecture to textiles


  • Anamika Pathak (Ph.D.)


The fruit ‘mango’, among all types of fruits, has a greater influence on the social and cultural andreligious ethos of Indian society. The mango tree, its wood and even the leaves are still consideredauspicious among the Hindu’s. Besides the Hindu, the fruit mango is important among the Buddhist andJains. From the early days of art history, the fruit mango was represented in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jainart. Consequently, its symbolic representation in the form of ‘Kairi’ (unripped mango) was adopted asdesign. The motif Kairi was first seen as the decorative design in architecture. Further, the wideadaptation was seen in jewellery and later on, it was extensively used in textiles. From the 17thcentury onwards, the Kairi motif dominated the Kashmiri shawls. Through the trade, these Kashmirishawls reached the European market and were in great demand there. The growing demand inspired thePaisley village of Scottland, England, to imitate the Kashmiri shawl. Here, in the article, an attemptis to look at the journey of motif Kairi, inspiration from fruit mango, its social and religioussignificance.

Keywords:Kairi, mango, Paisley, Kashmir shawl, Baluchari sari, Taxila jewllery.

Author Biography

Anamika Pathak (Ph.D.)

Former Curator

National Museum, New Delhi


Textiles and Clothing Research Centre, New Delhi