A Tapestry, simply put, is a textile specifically designed and woven to portray an artistic scene with the intent of hanging it on a wall. An antique tapestry would be one that was produced at least 100 years ago. Antique tapestries are highly sought after collectible items with examples displayed prominently in many museums around the world.
While some tapestries can date to the biblical era, most of the great examples known today are from the medieval or Renaissance periods of history. Nobility and wealthy patrons commissioned tapestries depicting scenes or images of importance. The tapestry served as a large-scale mobile art piece which would have been displayed on the wall of a castle or home and was easily transportable from home to home.
Many of the surviving antique tapestries depict religious and / or historic events. For example, a king might have commissioned an antique tapestry with a scene depicting a great victory in battle. As the king moved to his various palaces or castles the tapestry could be moved along with him as well. Another example could be a religious tapestry, commissioned by a religious institution and some would only be displayed at the church or cathedral during certain religious events. Other tapestries might display images of a family and those would usually depict the family’s coats of arms. Antique tapestries vary in size, and range from items that would cover a single wall of a small room to major works that are massive in size. Some antique tapestry works are actually sets or a series of works on a common theme.
Weavers used the natural materials available at the time. Wool, cotton, silk and linen threads were dyed to the desired colors before weaving. Some tapestries also included gold and silver thread accents. Sadly enough, in the past, there were owners who destroyed some of these tapestries to recover the precious metals leaving fewer examples of this breathtaking form of the art.
A tapestry is largely thought of as a European form of textile art. Most of the major countries of Europe did produce tapestries with a highly developed art forms evident in Germany, Spain, Belgium, France and more. Tapestry weavers continue to produce works of textile art till this very day so not every tapestry is an antique.
Antique Tapestries are perhaps the most venerable and highly prized medium of textile art. Tapestries have been woven almost from the beginning of weaving itself, and already in ancient times, this technique was adapted to pictorial compositions as well as ornamental designs. Antique Tapestries or ‘Woven paintings’ of this kind were known to the court arts of Egypt, the ancient Near East, and the Greeks and Romans as well. It was this ancient tradition that was passed down through the Middle Ages into the Renaissance and Baroque periods in Europe, where pictorial tapestry became a medium of painting in its own right utilizing designs by all the great ‘Old Masters’. Nazmiyal is proud to offer a distinguished collection of such European antique tapestries whose historic importance or value is equal to their beauty and elegance as great works of art.