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Thanks for visiting ! Please leave me comments, I love to read what you might think about the boutis (which is also known as "Broderie de Marseille"), please share with me what you have seen, what you love, how-tos, good museums to visit, pattern origins, and so on ..... you get the idea !

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Meaning of "Boutis" ?

I was asked recently what the meaning is of "boutis". As with many such things, the true origin of the word is lost in the mists of time, but there are some theories regarding its origin.

I would recommend that you read any publications you might have on the subject, such as Francine Nicolle's first book, and decide for yourself which derivation you prefer. There really doesn't seem to be a right or wrong answer. The following is a brief summary of some opinions.

The origin of the word "Boutis" is a subject of some controversy. According to Frederic Mistral's Provencal work "Lou tresor dou Felibrige", boutis is derived from the Italian "imbottito" meaning stuffed, filled, and comes from the time when Marseille was a free port recruiting embroiderers from Sicily.
Others prefer the old name for the wooden needle used to complete this delicate work.
Yet another opinion is that the word derives from the old provencal "boutiholo" meaning bubble, or vesicle (a reference to the raised, stuffed motifs).

It is a fact that the ladies of Marseille and surroundings used their imaginations and busy fingers to create wonderful works of relief out of necessity. The beautiful cottons imported from the East, with their colorfastness and fascinating designs and reasonable price, became very popular quickly, leading the king to decree that they may not be freely sold. He did however, allow the sale of plain white cotton goods to continue unrestricted.

If you know of other sources for an interpretation of the word boutis, please write with your comments.

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