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Bed cover with floral medallion pattern

Bed cover with floral medallion pattern

late 1600s to early 1700s

Plain weave, quilted: cotton; embroidery, couched laid work: silk and gilt-metal thread

Overall: 251.5 x 330.2 cm (99 x 130 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade 1916.1359

Description

The quilted cotton ground of this beautiful floor cover is embroidered with shimmering gilt-metal thread that enriches the central and four corner medallions, numerous imaginary blossoms, and the outer border arcade. Floral vines bearing colorful blossoms on a graduated scale enliven the field while padded silver-metal thread, laid over floss silk and secured with couching stitches, forms the vines, floral outlines, and small petals. Robust flora in the main border flows around the perfectly turned corners, a sign of high quality.

Such large covers were placed on the dais under a throne and used as floor covers on royal occasions. In addition, Portuguese traders who introduced couched metal-thread embroidery to India shipped such embroideries by the 1700s via Goa to Portugal where they were used as coverlets.

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