Exotic Gold-patterned Silk

Exotic Gold-patterned Silk


Silk, gold thread; a combination of two weaves, 2/1 twill and 1/3 twill (lampas)

Overall: 21.6 x 31.1 cm (8 1/2 x 12 1/4 in.); Mounted: 30.5 x 39.4 cm (12 x 15 1/2 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1954.69



This superb quality silk with radiant gold thread on a rich green ground ranked among the most extravagant textiles woven in Italy during the 1300s. The Italian silk designer combined primarily exotic Chinese and Islamic motifs into the exceptionally dynamic pattern in the international style. Mythical beasts with flaming manes appear amid large palmette leaves. A chasuble in this fabric has survived, hidden during World War II behind a false wall in Saint Mary’s Church in Gdansk, Poland. A remarkably similar silk provides the lavish background in the museum’s painting John the Baptist by the Flemish painter Robert Campin. The display of such luxury continues the practice of using the finest items in the worship of God.

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