Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Very Strange Printed Linen Textile

I came across this very strange and lovely textile at auction the other day - and, of course, came home with it afterwards. I'm currently listing it in my eBay shop, here. At first glance I thought it was Chinese, then, looking more closely, I saw that the figures and motifs were all Mediaeval European, with a slightly Scandinavian, Arts and Crafts feel. And then - examining it even more closely - I went back to my original opinion that this might well be an old Chinese textile, but made for the European market. It is quite narrow, about 37 inches wide, obviously handwoven, heavy linen. I can think of a dozen or more uses for it - it is so lovely - and there is quite a lot of it, between three and four metres, so it could be used to cover chairs, or as a small curtain or even - my favourite - as a feature wall hanging. The colours look as if they are natural vegetable dyes, so they have a wonderful subtlety. The scenes are charming. The man in the close-up, with his cauldron, looks rather as though he is holding a handbag in his left hand, but I don't suppose that's what was intended! It never fails to surprise and enchant me that - no matter how long I spend looking at various textiles - I so often come across something I have never ever seen before and can't quite identify.

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