May 10, 2006
Sep 12, 2011

Four-color Velvet with Medici Armorial in Rosettes

Four-color Velvet with Medici Armorial in Rosettes


Silk, velvet: cut pile and voided

Overall: 211.5 x 40 cm (83 1/4 x 15 3/4 in.); Mounted: 222.3 x 49.5 x 7.6 cm (87 1/2 x 19 1/2 x 3 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1943.67



This polychrome velvet displays the heraldic design of the Medici family of Florence, where it was probably made. The device of crimson balls on a yellow ground appears in the centers of the colorful rosettes. Gilt-metal thread forms the heraldic ground in more lavish examples. The striped selvage helps identify the late 15th-century dating. The rosette pattern created with four colors of pile warp is silhouetted on the ivory satin weave foundation, known as voided velvet. Its color scheme and tile-like design have often been associated with influence from Islamic lands, most likely Turkey.

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