Exquisite and colorful garment which takes its name from the city of Manila, capital of the former Spanish colony of the Philippines, where a great quantity of products from the Orient were shipped by Spanish galleons to be brought to Spain.
The shawlwas a great success especially in Seville where it began to be used between the singers and “dancers” of flamenco. It also enjoyed a quick popularity in Mexico, with these two areas “driving” of the garment to be the main commerce of the major routes in maritime trade in the sixteenth century.
However, this peculiar garment has its origin in China. They were made of silk and hand embroidered. The decorative motifs, originally were mainly bamboo, dragons and pagodas; but because of the Spanish preferences and to facilitate marketing were changed by more typical motifs of our culture such as flowers, birds, medallions and flower-pots. One of the motifs that has had most acceptance has always been roses, perhaps fot its symbolism reflected in the Passion of Christ. There are some who adjudicate meanings to each type of flower and so lily is purity; Daisy: impatience; rose: secret; sunflower: fidelity…
It notes that the first Shawls of Manila had no fringes. It was in Spain where they were added. The lattice fringe and the sumptuous and elaborate embroidery, are primarily responsible for the high cost, but undoubtedly, also, for its great beauty.