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date: 07 December 2019

Girona Creation Tapestrylocked

  • Pamela A. Patton

Extract

Embroidered textile (Girona, Cathedral; see Girona §1) produced in Catalonia c. 1100. Although popularly labelled a tapestry, it is in fact a monumental embroidery in wool and linen on fine wool twill. It might have been produced for the cathedral following its consecration in 1038, since the cathedral is known to have possessed a number of textiles as early as 1053. Although a 16th-century reference to a hanging depicting the Emperor Constantine is sometimes taken to allude to this work, it is not otherwise documented before the end of the 19th century.

While the lack of comparable textiles leaves the date of the work uncertain, both pictorial style and the forms used in the inscriptions support a date in the late 11th or very early 12th century. In its present state, it takes the form of a substantial fragment, approximately 3.65m×4.70m, of an original perhaps 5 m sq. Today, it lacks a narrow strip along its right edge and over a metre of its lower section. The wool used predominantly in its embroidery was dyed a wide range of colours, including greens, blues, red, beige, black and various earth tones; bleached linen or hemp is also evident. Self-couching and stem stitch combine to cover the base material completely and create a tapestry-like appearance....

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