Embroidery

Embroidery . Embroidery is an art that consists of the ornamentation by means of textile threads, of a flexible surface. The threads used in embroidery are mainly silk, wool and linen. The Romans called this ornamentation “plumarium opus”.

They also called it “opus phrygium” either because they obtained it from trade with the Phrygians who in turn brought it from the East or because it was supposed to be of Phrygian origin and invention. And since embroidery considered a procedure similar to painting, the embroidered garments were called the Picta tunic or the Toga Picta, or the Palmata tunic, alluding to the embroidery in the form of palmettes with which they were adorned.

Summary

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  • 1 Possible provenance
  • 2 History
    • 1 Ancient Age
    • 2 Middle Ages
    • 3 Modern Age
  • 3 kinds of embroidery
  • 4 Curiosity
  • 5 See also
  • 6 Source

Possible origin

The Romans called this ornamentation “plumarium opus”, by virtue of the similarity that some of these tasks have with the bird’s feather. They also called it opus phrygium either because they obtained it from trade with the Phrygians who in turn brought it from the East or because it was supposed to be of Phrygian origin and invention. And since embroidery considered a procedure similar to painting, the embroidered garments were called the Picta tunic or the Toga Picta, or the Palmata tunic, alluding to the embroidery in the form of palmettes with which they were adorned.

The threads used in embroidery are the same as those used for weaving, but above all, silk, wool and linen are used, all with various colors and silver and gold with the different shapes adopted in weaving.

With them, gems, pearls, beads and metallic sequins are sometimes strung. Pliny attributed to King Attalus I of Pergamum (3rd century BC) the introduction of gold threads in embroidery and for this reason the Romans called the pieces thus embroidered or woven “attálicus amictus” and also “auriphrygium” if only were embroidered.

History

Old age

There are no embroideries that can be attributed with certainty to the Ancient Age except those of some Coptic fabrics from the Roman era but there were undoubtedly excellent ones in Asia , Egypt , Greece and Rome, as verified by true historians and revealed by numerous reliefs and paintings of those times. The invention and the first development of this art must be attributed to the Babylonians since from Mesopotamia came the most famous embroidery in the Ancient Age as well as from Egypt the fine fabrics and the high-smooth tapestries, Pliny saying that the Egyptian loom had defeated the Babylonian needle .

Middle Ages

Byzantine art embroidery

The Byzantine civilization occupies the first place in the history of embroidery during the Middle Ages and the Crusades were the main vehicle of this art for the entire West. It was hardly exercised here in the High Middle Ages outside perhaps the monasteries among which that of St. Gallen in Switzerland is cited as being very active and industrious.

The motifs that appear on embroidery in the Middle Ages are usually the same as the stews, originally taken from the Persians. Later they mix with other Christians and they immediately triumph since the 12th century. In the 13th century, due to the chivalric current produced by the Crusades, shields and other cavalry motifs began to be embroidered on the luxurious pieces and the composition became more ornate, complicated and better colored, increasing the variety of colors in the fourteenth century. the silks.

Embroideries of different kinds of stitches are used throughout the Middle Ages: past, cross and chain stitch. But the latter disappears towards the end of the 14th century, when the flat point prevails. The gold or silver embroidery that with wool was the most common until the thirteenth century follow the technique of the genre called flat. Since the mentioned century, the golden thread has been mixed with the silk thread, which has been gaining ground over the others in the future. The use of sequins in embroidery seems to be of Arabic invention, but as early as the fourteenth century it is among the work of Christians. And since the 15th century they have been widely consumed, especially in Spain.

Embroidery with enhancement begins in the 13th century and becomes very common in the second half of the 15th century, in which it takes on a high-relief character. The real needle painting with figures fully embroidered and with shadows and degradation of inks, imitating the painted canvases, does not begin until the 15th century, from whose half the procedure of nuanced gold was tried in Italy, which soon became common in Flanders and was generalized in Spain during the sixteenth century . In this last century, the embroidery with a bead appears, which is still in use today.

Among the works that stand out the most for their perfection and historical celebrity are:

  • Byzantine art, the dalmatic call of Carlo Magno or León III (XII century and according to others, from the XIV) full of representative figures of Jesus Christ and his glory that is kept in Saint Peter of the Vatican and the embroideries of the cathedral of Halberstadt (Westphalia ) due to the looting of Constantinople in 1204.
  • Western art and Romanesque style, the famous embroidered tapestries of Bayeux and the Tapestry of the Creation of Gerona and a rich planet that belonged to King Saint Stephen (11th century) which has served as a cloak for the coronation of the Hungarian kings and was preserved in Budapest.
  • Arab or Mudejar art, the cap of the infante don Felipe (13th century) embroidered with eagles, castles and lacerías kept by the National Archaeological Museum of Spain.
  • Gothic French art, a front with twelve paintings of the Life of Jesus Christ, in Toulouse and a triptych in the Chartres cathedral (14th century) of English embroidery, a layer that is in the Spanish National Museum, another one like it in the Museum of Kensington in London and an incomplete one in the Vic Museum, from the 14th century .
  • Gothic German art, the front of Salzburg (14th century) and the stole and handpiece of Albert the Great (13th century) in the church of Saint Andrew of Cologne of Flemish art, the cloak and the suit of the Order of the Golden Fleece It is kept in the Museum of the Court in Vienna and it has beautiful figures of needle painting (15th century) as well as two fronts in the Cathedral of Valencia.
  • Florentine art, the rich front of the main church of Manresa (15th century), embroidered in colored silks on fine canvas with figures of the Life and Passion of Jesus Christ in 19 paintings.

Modern age

Embroidered jacket from 1800

The embroidery of the Modern Age is distinguished by following in its figures the style of the Renaissance similar to the other sumptuary arts and also because the gold thread (or canutillo) which was applied with parsimony in recent years is widely used again from middle Ages. In the sacred ornaments the imagery that in the mentioned centuries used to be applied in the central and vertical part of the chasubles and in the shield of the back and front bands of the layers is disappearing and already only by exception will it be found in pieces from the 17th and XVIII.

On the other hand, the whole piece is very often covered with purely ornamental embroidery in the case of sacred vestments, something rare in the centuries prior to the 16th century. And in such a way the ornaments are recharged with metals and baroque-style reliefs that some become really unbearable. A chasuble with its accessory pieces guards the Cologne Cathedral made in 1740, which, even though they are short, weigh no less than 13 kilos. Among the embroideries for civilian clothing, those adorning the silk vests and vests that were in vogue according to French fashion during the 18th century are worth mentioning. for gentlemen of social standing. The cuffs and other edges of the garments were embroidered with fine branches and delicate little flowers made with silks of various colors. Embroidery declines markedly at the end of the 18th century . It is replaced by the machine-made one entered as early as the 19th century. However, something resurfaced in the middle of the century.

The embroidery of the Modern Age is distinguished by following in its figures the style of the Renaissance similar to the other sumptuary arts and also because the gold thread (or canutillo) which was applied with parsimony in recent years is widely used again from middle Ages. In the sacred ornaments the imagery that in the mentioned centuries used to be applied in the central and vertical part of the chasubles and in the shield of the back and front bands of the layers is disappearing and already only by exception will it be found in pieces from the 17th and XVIII.

On the other hand, the whole piece is very often covered with purely ornamental embroidery in the case of sacred vestments, a rare thing in the centuries prior to the 16th century. And in such a way the ornaments are recharged with metals and baroque-style reliefs that some become really unbearable. A chasuble with its accessory pieces guards the Cologne Cathedral made in 1740, which, even though they are short, weigh no less than 13 kilos.

Among the embroideries for civilian clothing, those adorning the silk vests and vests that were very much in vogue according to French fashion during the 18th century for men of social standing are worth mentioning. The cuffs and other edges of the garments were embroidered with fine branches and delicate little flowers made with silks of various colors. Embroidery declines markedly at the end of the 18th century. It is replaced by the machine-made one already entered the 19th century. However, something resurfaced in the middle of the century.

Embroidery classes

Embroidery

Possibly one of the compelling causes for embroidery to be considered an art is its wide range of possibilities. The types that exist are almost infinite. Therefore, only the most famous and curious are cited below:

  • Vainica, an important technique of traditional trimmings for which threads are extracted and then finished off forming precious openwork.
  • Yugoslav embroidery, well known for its ease and good looks. * Cross stitch, which consists of forming crosses using the counted threads of a cloth. Despite its great popularity, it has variants.
  • Palestrina Point , an admirable variant of the knot point: simple, fast and impeccable.
  • Chain stitch , another simple but more discreet stitch, that resembles the crochet chain, since its operation is almost identical.
  • Parma embroidery, curious but little known point at which, from several chains, it is filled by means of the scallop.
  • Lagartera embroidery, a perfect type of Spanish embroidery, but with complicated elaboration. Two variants are distinguished: Lagartera Cerrada and Abierta (openwork).
  • Hardanger, extremely difficult but exquisite Norwegian embroidery. It is based on the unraveling of the fabric by means of openwork.
  • Enhancement, an important embroidery to the frame with which the fabric is filled with beautiful floral motifs or even with showy initials.
  • Richelié, consists of cutting the fabric and then scalloping it.
  • Embroidered on tulle, it is worked from a mechanical tulle that is decorated with small decorative elements.
  • Gathered (Smock), characteristic in children’s clothing, forming honeycomb.
  • Majorcan embroidery, native to the Mediterranean Archipelago, encompasses many points, such as chain stitching and enhancement, giving it a great taste of elegance.
  • Segovian embroidery and Embroidery of Assisi, almost disappearing.

Curiosity

In many municipalities with a strong religious tradition, some of their artistic representations, such as the Easter steps, carry embroidered cloaks. And some of these cloaks of the Virgins or of the Christs look precious embroidered with threads of silver or gold in their noble fabrics. From there arose nuanced gold embroidery, a variant of the past embroidery that aims to cover in sections with colored silks the thread or a gold cord (attached at the ends to the fabric) to give it more showiness and variety. Because this procedure was adopted in the work of El Escorial during the time of Felipe II, it is called El Escorial point.

 

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