A History of Tapestries
December 4th, 2014 by Jay Fratt
Who doesn’t love a good tapestry?
Today we call just about any large piece of fabric art a tapestry. We use them for an array of things from the predictable to the odd. Such as decoration in our dwellings from wall hangings to bed spreads, furniture covers, area rugs, or a way to mark your campsite at festivals, even beach blankets. They add a little spice to our lives and let some of our personality show.
Tapestries have been around since before the emergence of the Roman Empire. These woven textiles started out as nothing more than a means to keep the cold, damp weather out of castles. Being strictly utilitarian they were still works of art featuring plant and flower motifs called Mille Fluers (meaning 1000 flowers). With the intricacy, size and manpower that it took to make them, tapestries quickly became a sign of wealth and power. Thus began the emergence of the pictorial tapestry.
Pictorial tapestries first depicted scenes of battle, peasants at work or play, royalty and religion. Some royalty even had themselves put into tapestries disguised as everyday people. The images were first captured by a painter and later fabricated into a tapestry to be hung with pride. Could you imagine being the painter who illustrated the Bayeux Tapestry showing many events leading up to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066AD?
Throughout the ages and in a host of cultures the tapestry has played the role of some interesting measures. The ancient Egyptians and Incas used them as shrouds, the Chinese as gift wrappings or garment covers and the most popular and easiest to trace history is that of the Europeans who used them as wall coverings. You gotta give it to a piece of art that has not fallen out of fashion for well over 1000 years.
So whether you want to spice up your dorm room with a mind blowing 3D Tapestry or make your allegiance known for The Grateful Dead with a Steal Your Face tapestry to mark your festival camp spot: Show off your individual style with a piece of art that shows the world a little bit about your flare!