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Metallic embroidered silk coif, c.1680-1720
This is the finest piece of embroidery art that I have had the pleasure of presenting. Nor have I ever seen work of this caliber outside of a museum, e.g., the V&A in London. This exemplar of historical costume should be the centerpiece of a major collection in or outside of museum.
In addition to the usual reasons for wearing hats, from the 16th through the 18th centuries coifs were worn by women for two additional reasons: to confer respectability; and for the wealthy, for decoration and display.
Rich embroideries of polychrome silk and metallic gold originated in the East and made their way to Europe along the trade routes from Byzantium to Venice. The polychrome technique was used to create the heraldry and lavish European ecclesiastical vestments of the Middle Ages.
With their brilliant sheen, silk and metallic fibers immediately convey luxury. When used in the work of a master embroidery artist, the effect is astonishingly beautiful.
The Jacobean-style motifs show the influence of older Gothic designs, Indian palampores, and Flemish verdure tapestries. Textile design ideas were exchanged all along the trade routes. Thus, it is virtually impossible to pinpoint the design origin of the few 17th pieces still extant. William III, Prince of Orange, was the British monarch when this cap was crafted.
Just as merchants in England imported Indian textiles, so they exported English crewel work to India. The embroidery in the coif appears to be English or Dutch. The coif came from a New England estate.
The coif is fashioned from écru silk damask and is lined with beige linen. The inside edge is faced with hand-stitched pink silk ribbon. The polychrome silk floss is used in French knots and satin stitch. The burnished metallic floss is couched. The peerless perfection of the embroidery is breathtaking.
The condition is almost excellent and all original. I found one small, inconspicuous tear in the silk in back. I did not notice the tear until I was going over the coif with a magnifying glass. There is also some wear on the silk ribbon facing.
It measures 6" from front to back and 6" tall.

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Album name:Anton / Головные уборы
Автор:17в.;18в.;артефакты;женское платье;головные уборы
Год создания:1680-1720
Filesize:188 KiB
Date added:Jul 21, 2011
Dimensions:600 x 615 pixels
Displayed:308 times
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