Thursday 4 April 2013

Spectacular Portuguese Embroidered Sumpter Cloth

Recently at auction in Lisbon was this fabulous embroidered armorial sumpter cloth. That it has various armorials is no surprise, since such a cloth would have been draped over a horse for formal processions. The coats of arms belong to the Chaves, Palhares and Teixeira families. This is a linen cloth embroidered with polychrome silks and gold and silver threads. The centre depicts the Tree of Jesse and the border is decorated with the kings of Israel down the long sides with their begettings documented in the text.
At the top is the story of Judith and Holofernes with the inscription (T)RIUNFOU JUDIC (JUDITE) DO CAPITAM TIRANO. What is interesting is its place of manufacture - it was made in Gujarat, India in the late 1500s or early 1600s. In case you are wondering, its estimate for auction was €25,000 - €37,500.

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