A Moment When Animals Played A Rolw In Human History The Role of European Tapestries in History

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The Role of European Tapestries in History

These days, people look at tapestries and just see pieces of art made to hang on the wall. There is an unlimited variety of styles and patterns ranging from simplistic medieval designs, to biblical scenes, to the beautifully intricate and romantic images for which the Renaissance period is famous. Portraits, objects such as fruit or flowers, poems, verses, animals and landscapes are also common tapestries available for purchase.

Although the images and styles used in most tapestries clearly reflect historical time periods, many people do not realize that tapestries have been around for hundreds of years and once served a multitude of purposes – from practical to cultural and social. Even ancient civilizations used tapestries for things like decorating royal buildings and burying their dead, although this intricate craft wasn’t very popular in Europe until the medieval era. Today, European upholstery is the most popular on the market.

During the Middle Ages, tapestries were first recognized by Europeans as extremely useful works of art. For example, the Church used a series of custom-made tapestries to illustrate Bible stories for its followers who could not read or write. One of the most infamous series of biblical tapestries still in existence today would be the Apocalypse of St. John, which beautifully depicts St. John’s prediction of the end of the world.

While the church used tapestries to educate its people, the royals used them to insulate the stone walls of the castle while maintaining (and often enhancing) the decor. The tapestries were also great to hang around the king size beds to allow for maximum privacy. Kings and nobles treasured their tapestries and, as a result, they often became coveted war prizes and were captured by conquerors during conquests. For this reason, it can be almost impossible to trace a tapestry back to its origin unless the piece itself describes its history.

As the demand for tapestries from the European aristocracy increased, factories began to open in several European countries in their name, the first being the Les Gobelins factory in Paris, France. Paris was the epicenter of European tapestry weaving until the Hundred Years’ War forced weavers to move north to and into Belgium, hence the extreme popularity of Belgian tapestries. The French Revolution caused many social changes in France that almost ended the tapestry industry for good, but the invention of the Jacquard loom in 1804 brought European tapestry weaving to life once and for all.

Today, the Jacquard loom is still the main equipment used in tapestry weaving. While this incredible piece of technology makes tapestry weaving much, much easier than doing it by hand, it still takes a well-trained and experienced apprentice to operate the loom and supervise the process. Some European tapestries are now made using silk screen technology, which allows for more authentic reproductions of the original antique tapestries.

As a result of the Jacquard loom and the Industrial Revolution, European tapestries can now be found in average households around the world. The way tapestry weaving has evolved from highly coveted hand-woven pieces of original art to a mass-produced commercial industry is the true indication that this art form has and will continue to endure for countless generations.

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