While they are from Portugal, Castelo Branco embroideries show the heavy Indian influence in their themes. Tree of life is a prime motif as are large exotic flowers and smaller figures or animals. They are Indian in style but the stitching is distinctly European. The silk is uncoiled and thick, and the stitching is long and held together with overall couch embroidery. This contributes to large, smooth and reflecting surfaces that make these usually large panels shimmer in the light.
Bedspreads such as this one typically contain a reference in imagery towards the senses. In the center, there is a man and a woman in 18th century garb smelling the flowers. They are surrounded by various flowers and striking green leaves. The entire piece is outlined by a blue patterned border.
Castelo Branco was produced in one monastery in the 18th century. By early 19th century, production stopped and did not get revived until the 20th century. The materials used to create the coverlets are of flax and silk all of which are cultivated locally, facilitating their production.
Circa: 19th century
Material: Silk Embroidery on Cotton
Condition: one small hole to ground and some corrosion to the embroidery, very good condition
Dimensions: 80" x 59
Inventory number: TX5074