This is a border. It is dated 16th–17th century. Its medium is silk embroidery, linen foundation, glass beads and its technique is embroidered using double running and overcasting stitches with deflected element work on plain weave foundation. It is a part of the Textiles department.
This unique fragment was collected by the Hewitt sisters before the founding of the Museum. It is most likely a border from a domestic or ecclesiastical textile made in Sicily – a region known for its white-on-white embroidery. It has a curious pattern of interlocking, curved branches that terminate on the top and bottom with the head of a grotesque figure. These alternate with confronted cupids that rise from slender plant forms. Rosettes are interspersed throughout the pattern. At the bottom is a rectangular banner – these were either inscribed or left blank. A major portion of the embroidery fills the background leaving the pattern in the plain weave fabric. The monochromatic nature of the piece is subtly enhanced by the use of colored glass beads and the subtle green double running stitches that outline the pattern.
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Its dimensions are
H x W: 38.1 x 91.4 cm (15 x 36 in.)
Cite this object as
Border (Italy); Previously owned by James Jackson Jarves (American, 1818 - 1888); silk embroidery, linen foundation, glass beads; H x W: 38.1 x 91.4 cm (15 x 36 in.); Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt; 1896-1-101