DEPARTMENTS WITH COLLECTIONS . . TEXTILE AND COSTUME DEPARTMENT . . 4 / 10

Tapestry

Flemish, late 16th – early 17th century

Warp – wool; weft – wool, silk; tapestry weave

423 x 352 cm

MAA inv. no. 908

In the past tapestries were used for the interior decoration of usually large rooms, and as wall hangings, especially in mediaeval castles, so that they heated the room, both visually and in actual fact. Up to the middle of the 17th century they often served to close off individual rooms, instead of doors. In addition, they were used to cover arches in ceremonial rooms and right up to the 17th century they also served to frame four-poster beds, in the place of drapes. They were used on journeys to decorate tents – both in wartime and on hunts. They adorned the walls of churches and served as curtains, floor coverings, and canopies for public festivities or to embellish buildings in places where the festivities were being held. In France, from the 17th century onwards there was a famed workshop producing Gobelin tapestries. They became so popular that that this term was adopted in Germany for all kinds of similar handiwork. In Serbia the word "goblen" has also become part of the language and denotes all objects made using this technique – probably it was taken over from Germany.

The Gobelin tapestry was designed for particular rooms given the themes it presented. For example, dining halls were usually decorated with tapestries showing hunting scenes. In this particular Flemish tapestry we see a whole series of scenes from courtly life. The tapestry was woven on a horizontal loom, it is not signed nor is there a workshop mark.