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Textile Collection

The Textile collections are a key part of the UK’s design and industrial heritage and are at the heart of the town’s stories. This Recognised Collection of National Significance comprises 1200 Paisley shawls, working looms, pattern and design books, and textile production technology, telling the story of the Paisley Pattern and shawl industry in Paisley.


The Kashmir Shawl, which originated in India in the 11th century, is an important example of Indian design and craftsmanship. The most popular and recognisable of these intricate and beautiful hand-woven designs was the teardrop motif. Design books in the Museum collection present the early stages of the Paisley shawl design process.

Artworks displayed

Shawl weaving and printing technology including looms, spinning equipment and printing blocks – The looms and equipment are used to explain and demonstrate the traditional skills and processes of handloom weaving. This is one of the Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) Recognised Collections of National Significance and includes original shawls from Kashmir and the other 19th-century shawl weaving centres in Europe.

Model draw loom
Printing block
Printing block details

A representative collection of Paisley shawls, pattern books and designs

Paisley shawl sample book
Printed shawl from the Textile collection
Paisley shawl

For more information on our Textiles collection, please contact one of our Textiles Curators