The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 18, 2018

Silk hanging with embroidered tree of life, 1800s

plain weave: silk; embroidery, chain stitch: silk, Average: 228.6 x 172.7 cm (90 x 67 15/16 in.). Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade 1916.1358

This resplendent tree of life embroidery integrates Turkish traditions with new European styles which became increasingly fashionable during the mid 18th century. The fanciful tree projects lavish bouquets of Turkish flowers while the tree trunk is wrapped with an elaborate European-style bow, as are the meandering vines in the floral border.

A professional draftsman drew the pattern with ink on the radiant yellow silk taffeta which was embroidered with at least 12 vibrant colors in chain stitch. It was most likely made in a professional workshop as a hanging for special occasions, a conspicuous symbol of beauty and wealth.

CMA, "Luxuriance, Silks from Islamic Lands, 1250-1900" (Gallery 234), June 22, 2013 - June 23, 2014.

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