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Object Timeline

1962

  • We acquired this object.

2012

2014

2019

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Tassel (Italy), late 16th–early 17th century

This is a Tassel. It is dated late 16th–early 17th century and we acquired it in 1962. Its medium is linen, wood and its technique is braided and knotted. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Tassels are typically made from richly colored, glossy silk. Passementerie, or the art of making tassels, fringes, pompoms and cords, is an early word for lace, and the bobbin lace technique is believed to have evolved from the making of braided silk and metal trimmings. These white linen tassels combine the skills of the passementier, braiding and knotting, with the materials and techniques of the lace-maker, in one case, of stitching tiny lace flowers and figures. One use for tassels such as these is for the cincture of the alb, a long white linen tunic worn under elaborate silk church vestments. Others are seen in Dutch portraits of the seventeenth century, fastening the necks of men’s shirts, hanging just below their elaborate lace falling collars. In Italian painting, they can be seen adorning domestic linens, while the largest examples may have found use in bed furnishings.

This object was bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf (American, 1887–1961). It is credited Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 12 x 7 cm (4 3/4 x 2 3/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Tassel (Italy), late 16th–early 17th century; linen, wood; H x W: 12 x 7 cm (4 3/4 x 2 3/4 in.); Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf; 1962-51-8

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Making Design.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18665577/ |title=Tassel (Italy), late 16th–early 17th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=22 August 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>