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Studio: international art — 19.1900

Seite: 255
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http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/studio1900a/0268
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The Ornamentation of Textiles

THE ORNAMENTATION OF
TEXTILES. Mme. PAUL
ERRERA'S COLLECTION AT
BRUSSELS. BY OCTAVE MAUS.

In the vast domain of decorative art, the
ornamentation of textile fabrics forms a subject of
study at once one of the most attractive and one
of the most instructive. Therein one may trace
stage by stage the successive evolutions of taste
from the remotest times; therein are reflected as
in a clear mirror all the contributions of the
various ages towards the development of what we
term "decorative feeling."

The history of textile work is inextricably mingled
with that of humanity itself, revealing as it does,
here the evidence of religious life, here again exact
traces of the civil life of the nations. The mosaic
law, as M. 1 )upont-Auberville reminds us, pre-
scribed the use of embroidered ornaments on the
sacred vestments, and many thousands of years
before our era, the skilled workers of India and
Egypt, Assyria and Phoenicia were producing, with

a deftness worthy of our envy, textiles adorned
with designs as beautiful and as delicate as any our
finest artists can show to-day. The Egyptians and
the Babylonians reserved their cotton for use in
the manufacture of sacerdotal robes, mortuary
wrappings and other religious purposes, while linen
was employed for articles of luxury or every-day
wear. They confined themselves to these two
branches of the textile industry, for China had
long held a monopoly in silk, which, however,
introduced into Egypt some two or three centuries
before the Christian era, rapidly spread over the
entire East.

From Egypt the Greeks brought back with them
the art of weaving, and the importance assumed in
Rome by the plumarii, the phrygiones and the
tincto>-es is well known. The industry sought
refuge at a later period in the cloister and the
convent, to escape the devastating influences of
foreign invasion and public tumult. Sumptuous
appointments became general in the Church, and
this had a decisive influence on the textile industry.
Hence arises the introduction of gold and silver
threads into the ornamented woof of the priestly

FIG. I.

ITALIAN

SII.K

XII. CENTURY

255
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