Nov 7, 2014

Orphrey Band: The Tree of Jesse

Orphrey Band: The Tree of Jesse

c. 1350

Silk, gold and silver thread, linen; embroidery: split and couching stitches

Overall: 85.7 x 18.1 cm (33 3/4 x 7 1/8 in.); Mounted: 109.2 x 28.6 cm (43 x 11 1/4 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1949.503



From the 1100s to the 1300s in London, both men and women worked as professional embroiderers. Here, the Tree of Jesse, a favorite medieval theme illustrating the ancestry of Christ, appears as a grapevine with three ancestors—Achim, Ezechias, and Eliud—seated on tendrils. Painters often provided embroiderers with designs, revealing a close relationship between the professions.

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