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Panel (Italy), 15th century

This is a Panel. It is dated 15th century and we acquired it in 1902. Its medium is silk, linen, wool, and metallic yarns and its technique is supplementary warp pile (velvet) in plain weave foundation, cut and voided. It is a part of the Textiles department.

This velvet exemplifies the prodigious skill of Italian velvet weavers in the latter half of the 15th century. The red silk pile is embellished with sparkling allucciolato, or metallic weft loops. The voided areas have no pile, but shine with supplementary wefts of silk wrapped in silver-colored metal. Italian velvet weavers developed a special technique to maximize the impact of costly metallic threads by keeping them on the visible surface, rather than hidden on the reverse. Here, thick yellow wefts create a foundation weave through which supplementary wefts of metallic wrapped threads are woven, catching only every fourth warp. This allows for a more delicate treatment of the velvet pile, forming the fine outlines of leaves and flowers.
The predominant textile motif of the Italian Renaissance was the pomegranate, introduced into the design lexicon through trade with the Ottoman Empire. Closely associated with the noble families and their courts, the pomegranate symbolized eternity, fertility, and resurrection.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled Pomegranate Velvet.

This object was donated by John Pierpont Morgan. It is credited Gift of John Pierpont Morgan.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 138.1 x 58.1 cm (54 3/8 x 22 7/8 in.)

Cite this object as

Panel (Italy), 15th century; silk, linen, wool, and metallic yarns; H x W: 138.1 x 58.1 cm (54 3/8 x 22 7/8 in.); Gift of John Pierpont Morgan; 1902-1-833-a/j

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Panel (Italy), 15th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=18 November 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>