Hanging with Triumphal Arch
second quarter of the 17th century
Indian (Bengal), for the Portuguese market
Silk satin embroidered with silk
105.1 x 83.1 in (267 x 211.1 cm)
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
Not on view
The imagery on this magnificent Indian embroidery is uniquely charged with contemporary European political conflict. The source of the arch is a 1622 Portuguese book that documents temporary structures created for Spain’s Philip III’s triumphal entry into Lisbon in 1619, when both Spain and Portugal were under his rule. Lisbon’s Flemish merchants erected the so-called Flamand arch. Atop stands Discordia—goddess of strife—between the coat of arms of the Dutch provinces, then struggling to gain independence from Spain. Also featured are portraits of Portuguese kings with motifs typical of Bengali exports—Christian subjects, hunting scenes, and mythological figures such as mermaids.