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Border (Italy), 16th–17th century

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.

This object was donated by Eleanor Garnier Hewitt and Sarah Cooper Hewitt. It is credited Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt.

Our curators have highlighted 5 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Band (Italy), 17th century
  • silk embroidery on linen foundation.
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma....
  • 1962-52-2

Its dimensions are

H x W: 38.1 x 91.4 cm (15 x 36 in.)

Cite this object as

Border (Italy), 16th–17th century; 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

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Border (Italy), 16th–17th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=23 September 2021 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>