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Tapestry wall hanging: The fascinating art of weaving in Europe

Posted on 07 July 2015
Have you heard of tapestry wall hanging? No, it isn't a New Trend.
The use of tapestries as wall hanging has a long history. Indeed, the origin of tapestries dates back to the very beginning of civilisation. However, their beauty wasn’t fully appreciated in European countries until 700 AD onwards.

Nowadays tapestries can be found almost everywhere, including on everyday upholstered items and cushions, as well as bags and coats. 

tapestry wall hanging

Tapestry wall hanging: Origin of the name
The word ‘tapestry’ derives from the Latin word tapetium, which means rug. But the roots of that word actually derive from the ancient Greek.

In fact, it is believed that the Greeks passed their weaving knowledge to the Romans who then spread it around the continent.
It is difficult to put into words exactly what a tapestry is because of their different uses.

The ornamental design of the tapestry is embodied in the foundation of the rug. Tapestries are handmade and their process is quite peculiar, with threads being woven over a drawn image.

tapestry wall hanging

The materials most used are linen, cotton, wool and silk.

Tapestry wall hanging a bit of History
Tapestry weaving existed millennia ago. The first written record of it can be found in the Bible (Exodus), where tapestry similar to that in the Ancient Egypt is described. Tapestries were present in the most ancient civilisations, including the Egyptian, Greek, Roman.

tapestry wall hanging

However, the art originated in the Oriental world. Indeed, tapestry weaving can be considered the western counterpart of Oriental rug weaving. In ancient times, tapestries served primarily as wall hanging, depicting very intricate and complex narrative scenes.

How did the art of weaving spread in Europe?
It is believed that weaving as an art came to Europe through the ancient Greeks thanks to the influence of Eastern populations.

tapestry wall hanging

There is a very interesting legend about the origin of Aubusson looms, which epitomises the birth of weaving as a cultural discipline. Charles Martel halted the Moors in the well-known battle of Poitiers in 732 AD. It is said that a number of prisoners settled in the French region and started to teach the art of weaving tapestry.

tapestry wall hanging
In the early years tapestries were woven in monasteries and churches where they represented a source of income.

Tapestries were mainly used to decorate churches and abbeys, so their designs changed accordingly. If in earliest stages the motifs belonged to geometric shapes and natural elements of Oriental inspirations, in this phase the designs were more oriented towards Christian-themed iconography.

Over the centuries churches have reduced the number of tapestries used as wall hanging in favour of tombs and colourful windows. Nevertheless, tapestry production remained high because nobles started to use them to decorate their homes.

Consequently tapestries became a sign of wealth and status.
The most important centres for tapestry weaving in Europe were France, Spain and Italy. Also, the ports of Venice opened the door to the Oriental silk trade, making it a very important location.



"The Hunt of the Unicorn Tapestry " - www.metmuseum.org,. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -
The Union of the Duchy of Urbino with the Church
Lauriston Castle (UK)




Comments (2)

Tapestry Wall Hanging
18 January 2016 at 07:12
Hello guys, If you looking to buy Tapestry online, do visit this website http://www.thenanodesigns.com offering range of Tapestries collections.
Sunny Suresh
12 April 2016 at 10:55
Great article/blog! Really beautiful wall hangings and tapestries. I love All. thanks for sharing with us. Last month I purchased some beautiful queen mandala tapestries from http://www.fairdecor.com/-queen-mandala-tapestry-throw

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