Parrots and Animals

Parrots and Animals


Silk, gold thread; a combination of two weaves (lampas)

Overall: 84.8 x 26.7 cm (33 3/8 x 10 1/2 in.); Mounted: 90.2 x 33 cm (35 1/2 x 13 in.)

Gift of J. H. Wade 1926.507



Silk weaving became an important industry in Italy during the 13th century, especially in Lucca and Venice. Initially, it was closely associated with silk patterns that were woven in the well established textile industry in Islamic Spain. Here, the Islamic influence is apparent in the paired eagles and gazelles flanking concentric bulb-shaped palmettes. Many variations of this design were woven in Italy during the 1300s. Examples that belonged to a pope, cardinal, and bishop provide dates between 1334 and 1361 based on their obituaries. Inventories in the Vatican also describe vestments displaying animals and birds with gold heads throughout the1300s. Here, costly gold thread was only interlaced where it is visible in the pattern.

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