“He visits my town once a year.
He fills my mouth with kisses and nectar.
I spend all my money on him.
Who, girl, your man?
No, a mango.”
This poem by the thirteenth-century Indo-Persian poet Amir Khusrow sums up the appeal of the mango. In South Asia, the mango is embedded into everyday culture, found in religion, art, poetry, and literature as much as the roadside carts and shops selling mango chutney, achchāru, curry and lassi. You see mango trees in suburban gardens being tormented during the after-school rush by hungry children pulling branches over walls, and their long green leaves strung up over the front doors of homes and stores for good fortune.
The juicy taste of the mango is a spectacular sensation that steals all attention. But, the distinct shape of this beautiful fruit has also inspired artists and crafts persons for centuries. The paisley pattern is said to be a stylized depiction of a mango.
After the colonization of South Asia, the appeal of the mango spread worldwide, making it one of the most popular tropical fruits echoing paradisiacal places with vibrant colours and flavours. The delight of the mango—not only in the vividness of its taste but also in its exquisite shape tracing a smiling side of a face—remains an icon of the tropics and a fruit that the world has come to associate with paradise.
Product of paradise: single-colour screen-print