Brocaded velvet of silk and metal thread
23 x 9 in. (58.4 x 22.9 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1946 (46.156.72)
A surprisingly large number of examples of this simple yet luxurious velvet have survived. Textiles matching the description of this pattern of golden disks on a rich red velvet background appear in papal inventories of the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, and similar velvets appear in Italian painting of the early fourteenth century. Imported Middle Eastern textiles were highly valued luxury goods during this period, and it was been proposed that this velvet pattern was originally the product of the Persian workshops of Tabriz. The number of surviving pieces in European and American collections suggests that this attractive pattern was produced in relatively large quantities; it was probably imitated by Italian velvet weavers and produced for a long period of time.