94% of People Can't Match These Patterns to Their Places of Origin. Can You?

By: Jacqueline Samaroo
Image: Original

About This Quiz

Make a good impression! Put your knowledge of patterns and their origins to the test with this quiz designed to suit the fashion maven in you. 

Many of the patterns we come across everyday have a rich and storied history rooted in the cultures that created them. In many cases, the patterns are more than just artistic expressions, as they are intricately linked to the customs, religions and identity of their respective regions. 

Take the designs of the clans of Scotland or the Indonesian provinces like Bali, for example - each one is seamlessly woven into each society's traditions. In many instances, they have remained unchanged for centuries, making it an easy task to pinpoint their origins - so, it should be a breeze for you!

There are patterns which feature prominently on the architecture in different countries, particularly those in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Some of these motifs have made their way from buildings, pottery and sculptures, and now adorn the fabrics of our lives. How many of those can you spot?

Then, there is that pattern which gets scanned each time you make a purchase and which has found its way into the interior design and fashion world. We're sure you can recall where that one was invented!

Only persons with a trained eye can easily spot which of these designs comes from where. Check out this quiz and prove you've got what it takes!


Palmette or anthemion is a classical motif often found in ancient art from regions such as Egypt, Assyria and Greece. It is a palm leaf done in a stylized, radiating pattern.

This elaborate ornamental design is inspired by both the art and architecture of Islamic culture and the Arabian region. Its most prominent motifs are curved lines in floral and geometric patterns.

The argyle pattern is a type of tartan (or plaid) which has its origins with the Clan Campbell of Scotland in a region known as Argyll. The argyle pattern usually has just two or three colors and is commonly used on knitted fabrics.

The term “art deco” refers more to a style of patterns than to a single pattern. It is generally associated with the style of the 1920s and 1930s, having originated at a 1925 international art exhibition in Paris, France.

The tattersall pattern is very similar to, but smaller than, the windowpane check pattern. It too typically features just two or three colors on a solid (usually light) background. It is named after an 18th-century horse market in London which sold horse blankets with this pattern woven into them.

When looked at over a large surface, the guilloche pattern appears to be made up of interlocking circles. A closer look at smaller areas may reveal that the lines are, in fact, interlocking, curves or arches.

This twill weave creates a pattern resembling a fish’s backbone – hence its name. The zigzag stripes of a herringbone pattern may be in one or two colors.

The patterns that are generated from the batik method of dyeing fabric are often compared to tie-dye. Within Indonesian culture, the various patterns of batik carry particular and often historical meaning. Some batik patterns may only be worn by members of noble families.

The patterns generated by the perada technique are traditionally achieved by gluing gold dust or gold leaf to the fabric. Since the fabric then becomes stiff and the gold falls off easily, genuine perada cloth is restricted to the wealthy or for special occasions in Balinese culture.

The Celtic knot has the appearance of interlocking ribbons weaved continuously and seamlessly into each other. It is sometimes called the endless or everlasting knot.

In Balinese tradition, songket patterns are produced by weaving gold and silver threads in silk fabric. Songket is typically reserved for special occasions and is often worn by brides and grooms.

Tartan is a traditional Scottish weave in a crisscross pattern. Each particular tartan pattern is related to a specific clan, regiment or district in Scotland. Although tartan is generally called plaid, not all plaids are tartan.

The bead and reel pattern of alternating ovals and rods is very popular in architecture, sculpture and engraving. After originating in Greece in the 6th century BCE, the bead and reel motif spread to other regions, reaching as far as India.

Geringsing is related to another Indonesian pattern known as ikat. It is exclusively produced in the village of Tenganan where it is thought to have magical properties. Genuine geringsing fabric is quite time-consuming to make and thus easier methods are sometimes used to produce the patterns.

This pattern is made up of both small and large checks (or crisscrossed stripes). It is typically made in a mix of black, grey and white or with dull colors.

Each inverted “V” in the pattern is known as a chevron. When the chevrons are joined, they create a zigzag striped pattern. Quite often, chevron patterns are done in just two contrasting colors.

The origins of the houndstooth check can be traced to the shepherds of the Scottish Lowlands. It is distinguished by its irregular points which give it an abstract appearance. Houndstooth is typically done in two-tone using black and white or two neutral colors.

Endek is also the most popular textile on the island of Bali. Its patterns are achieved by repeated tying and dyeing of the yarns of the woven fabric.

As its name suggests, woodblock printing involves transferring a pattern from a carved woodblock to fabric. This traditionally is a time-consuming process but the final effect is of a very superior and artistic quality.

Although chintz is a type of fabric, it is often characterized by a large floral pattern with a glazed, glossy, very shiny appearance. It is traditionally used for drapery and upholstery but nowadays, chintz patterns can be found in fabric meant for clothing.

Also called egg-and-tongue, this pattern is quite popular in some types of architectural design. Both the egg-and-dart and the bead and reel patterns originate in Greece and are somewhat similar.

The Prince of Wales check and the Glen plaid (or Glen check) look quite similar and it is not uncommon for people to mistake one for the other. They are, however, two different patterns.

Just like many of the other fabrics and patterns found in Indonesian culture, the Poleng of Bali carries religious significance. The poleng pattern can be woven into the material or printed on white fabric.

While boteh is historically a Persian design, it became very popular in Europe around the 17th century. This accounts for the pattern’s other name, Paisley, which is the name of a town in Scotland.

This ancient pattern is sometimes referred to as “Greek fret.” Its pattern of interlocking squares or rectangles is often drawn with one continuous line.

The ogee pattern is often described as onion-shaped or as a diamond with rounded sides. The term “ogee” is actually the name of an S-shaped curve which is often used in architectural designs. The ogee pattern is also frequently used on fabrics.

Ikat is actually a method of dyeing which is prevalent in the Indonesian provinces. The woven dyed yarn produces intricate patterns in the completed fabric with the main ikat characteristic being a blurred appearance to the completed design.

The harlequin print uses diamonds, whereas most of the other check patterns use either squares or rectangles. The harlequin print originated in 16th century Italian theatre and is named after the popular character whose clothes featured the pattern.

The fleur-de-lis is generally associated with European royalty but most particularly with the royal families of France. The design is a highly stylized lily with either three or four petals and it is typically done in neutral colors.

The individual stripes in the pinstripe pattern are normally just one or two yarns thick. The design may be woven into the fabric or printed onto it. Pinstripes are thinner than pencil stripes.

Border tartan also goes by the names “shepherd’s plaid” and “border check.” It is regarded as a plain check pattern, particularly when compared to the other tartan designs of Scotland.

The gingham check pattern usually consists of all-white squares alternated with squares in a solid color and then squares which are a mix of white and the solid color. The gingham check is often used to make summery-looking clothing items.

Although they had been around for some time, Polka dots got their name during the late 19th century. It was during the time of a rise in popularity for both polka music and polka dancing.

Mosaic patterns consist of images created from small colored portions. The origin of mosaic art lies in Mesopotamia – a historic region in West Asia. The use of mosaics for decorative means is quite popular in Christian churches and cathedrals.

Damask patterns are typically floral and done on luxurious material, such as silk. The method of weaving causes the pattern to be raised from the surrounding material.

The Liberty style came about in the 1920s and is named after a London department store. It usually features very small floral, paisley or abstract motif printed all over the fabric.

Also called “toile de Jouy,” this pattern first rose to prominence in 18th century France. The design is typically of a floral or pastoral scene which is done in one color on a white or off-white background.

The regimental stripe pattern has its origins in the colors of the British regiments. Nowadays, it is most often used on men’s ties.

The herati pattern is an intricate one which typically features a stylized rosette inside of a diamond with a serrated-edge leaf on each of the diamond’s four sides. The pattern is frequently used on rugs.

Matelassé is a French term meaning “quilted” or “padded.” Patterns in matelassé fabric are raised from the surrounding material, giving it the appearance of being padded when, in fact, no padding is used.

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