Thursday, 24 December 2009
Swaddling bands were bandage-like strips, sometimes of a uniform width, sometimes of a tapering width. After the newborn's umbilical cord had been cut and tied, the baby was washed, rubbed with salt and oil, and wrapped with strips of cloth to keep the little one warm and ensure that tiny limbs would grow straight. The swaddling bands would stay in place for around a year. Ezekiel 16:4 describes Israel as unswaddled, a metaphor for abandonment. Poor families had to make do with plain strips whilst richer families could afford the sacrifice of elegantly embroidered strips such as these Italian ones of 1600-1625.
These binding cloths are from Alsace and date from 1719-1720. These are just some of the wonderful items you see when you extend your search to embroidery in the V&A digital collection.
Posted by N E E D L E P R I N T at 08:40