What is Termeh?
Termeh is an artistic fabric designed and ornamented with Persian motifs. In the past, Termeh was made of cotton or wool but nowadays it is made with silk or viscose fibers. Persian paisley is shaped like a bowing Cypress tree a holy tree in Zoroastrianism since the Sasanian Empire which bent over time after years of resistance and persistence with humility.
The origin of Termeh is unclear; whether it’s Iran or Kashmir, but there is no doubt that the pattern of Cashmere shawls has an Iranian origin. As mentioned in the book ‘Survey of Persian handicrafts’ by Jay Gluck, Kashmir woolen textiles have a Persian origin. In the Safavid era, the peak period of prosperity for the fine arts and textile industry, Persian motifs were brought to India and used in Kashmir shawls.
In the old days, Termeh used to be weaved in hand only by fingers before wooden looms came into use. Nowadays the design and coloring process of the Termeh pattern is done by hand on graph paper over several months. When the pattern is ready, the design is brought into life and it turns into a beautiful textile using jacquard machines. The fresh fabric, off the loom, then needs to be finished in a process, which involves many different manual steps. The final product is a Termeh, a sophisticated work of art.
The use of weaving machinery after the 70’s when the old weavers retired and with the increase in demand for Termeh did not diminish the value of this ancient art, it rather helped preserve this time-honored tradition. Three factors have made Termeh, which has its lovers around the globe, a unique fabric; The pattern and design, the delicacy of the fibers together with their quality, and the density of the weft.
The pattern and the design of Termeh is the main reason that has made it an exquisite fabric. The eye-catching companionship of various tiny motifs and contrasting colors has made it a nice-looking fabric, which can be used as a wall hanging, tablecloth, bed cover, cushion, and many more. Using delicate and dense thread, in some cases, 480 threads in each centimeter, has also made it a popular textured fabric. Weaving each centimeter of Termeh takes a lot more time than other fabrics. Due to the time-consuming process of design, manufacturing, and finishing Termeh, it is referred to as a slow art.