A rare Medieval allegorical wool and metal-thread tapestry, Swiss /North Rhine circa 1480 - 1500
- wool and metal-thread tapestry
- whole panel approximately 262cm. high, 202cm. wide; 8ft. 7in., 6ft. 7in. (top panel with Job, Catho and Seneca: 132cm. high; 4ft. 4in. and the lower panel with Thomas, Bernhardus and Augustinus 127cm. high; 4ft. 2in.
The above cited museum panels and the present tapestry, are all woven with the very distinctive design element of the relief of figures with the surrounding banderoles with Gothic script inscriptions, found in the Upper Rhineland weavings, where Basel and Strasbourg were the more important production centres. A number of the tapestries incorporating the coats-of-arms of Basle families. Documents mention wall-hangings, backcloths behind benches, table and cushion covers, coverlets and in the churches antependia (altar frontals). The present panels (one separate horizontal strips) were probably used as the background for mystery plays, liturgical and other ceremonies.
Berner-Laschinski, Waltraud, Ein Bildteppich des 16. Jahrhunderts (A Tapestry of the 16th century), Restoration, Preservation: Furniture, goldsmiths, textile, porcelain. Using examples from the Kunstgewerbemuseums Staatliche Museen in Berlin, documented in 1994 & 1995. Accompanied the museum exhibition ‘Restoration, Preservation’, 10th May to 28th July, Ed. Barbara Mundt, Julius Lessing Society, Berlin 1996, pp. 36-39.
Göbel, Heinrich, Die Wandteppiche, Part III., Germanic and Slavic Countries, Vol.1: Germany including Switzerland and Alsace (Middle Ages), Southern Germany (16th-18th century), Berlin 1933, pg.175, plate 145a (detail from one of panels from the Berlin (Schlossmuseum) panel, showing David (partially), Helias and Thomas), circa 1490.
Gysin, Frédéric, Swiss Medieval Tapestries, London, 1940.
Hartkamp-Jonxis, Ebeltje and Smith, Hillie, European Tapestries in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2004, pp.319-321, for an example of a similarly dated panel, depicting David and Bathsheba panel, Alsace or Strasbourg, circa 1490-1500, incorporating metal-thread highlights.
Husband, Timothy, The Wild Man: Medieval Myth and Symbolism, exhibition catalogue, Cloister, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, October 1980 – January 1981.
Kurth, Betty, Die deutschen Bildteppiche des Mittelalters (The German tapestries of the Middle Ages), Vols 1-3, Vienna , 1926, Vol. 1, pg.190, & pg. 273., Vol.3, Plate 316a & b.
Lambacher , Lothar, Weise Männer (Wise Men) and medieval epigrams, The so-called Kirchenväterteppich (Church Fathers Carpet), Berlin 2001 (Information Sheet No. 1421 Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz Kunstgewerbemuseum).
Lanz, Hans, Die alten Bildteppiche im Historischen Museum Basel (The ancient tapestries in the Basel Historical Museum), Basel, 1985, see two panels which follow the same same figural relief and banderole format, with repeat pattern backgrounds, a panel of ‘Noblemen and Women hawking’, Basel, circa 1490 (approx. 116-119.5cm. high, 345cm. wide), pp.44-45, colour plate pp.46-47, and a fragmentary panel depicting five of the ‘Nine Heroes’, with banderoles and repeat pattern background, Basel, circa 1490 (approx. 114cm. high, 183cm. wide), pg.52, colour plate, pg.53.
Duke Luitpold of Bavaria, Die fränkische Bildwirkerei (The Franconian tapestry) Munich, 1925, text and illustrated volume, Figs 56b, 56c, text volume, pg. 85f.
Rapp Buri, Anna, and Stucky-Schürer, Monica, Zahm und Wild, Basler und Strassburger Bildteppiche des 15. Jahrhunderts (Tame and Wild: Basel and Strasbourg tapestries of the 15th century), Mainz, 1990.
Schuchardt, Wolfgang, Weibliche Handwerkskunst in deutschen Mittelalter, Berlin, 1941.
Wilcken, Leonie, The `Wise Men’ Tapestry in Berlin. Bulletin de Liaison du Centre Internacional d'Etudes of Textiles Anciens, Lyon 59/60 (1984), pp. 61-66 (Figs 1 & 2, pg. 64).
Wilhelmy, Winfried, Drache, Greif und Liebesleut: Mainzer Bildteppiche aus spätgotischer Zeit (Dragons, Griffins and Lovers: Tapestries from the late Gothic period), Bischöflichen dom- und Diözesanmuseums, Mainz, Verlag Philipp von Zabern, Mainz, 2000, for discussion of tapestries of a similar date, format, inspiration and quality of weave and design, including the panel of Jungfrauen (Young ladies), circa 1450-1475, with banderoles and gold and silver metal-thread highlights, No.3, pp.52-56, colour plates 3.a & 3b.