This stunning, colorful brocade is a “bizarre silk” from France or Italy. Bizarre silks didn’t receive their name until the 20th century, but the trend originated in France in the late 17th century. Fantastical images and Chinoiserie influences were mixed with realism and florals to create designs that often weren’t symmetrical and had no direction. These textiles began to show more depth and complexity, and were popular into the mid-18th century. In the 1720s, pleats came into fashion, which wasn’t the most favorable way to drape heavy brocades. Since they were beautiful and expensive pieces, instead of being discarded, bizarre silks were donated to the church and made into various garments and decor. Some would become garments, like this chasuble, or even altar covers. The preservation by the church is the reason why most bizarre silks are still around today.
This piece has a pink two-toned brocade base with leaf details. Metallic and silk brocade decorates the base with abstracted florals and leaves in gold, yellow, blues, pinks, purples, and greens. You can see the seams where this was pieced together using smaller sections of fabric. It is in very good condition and mounted on to a linen base.
Origin: Italy or France
Material: Silk and Metallic Thread
Condition: Very Good
Inventory number: TX4932