18th Century Naxos Embroidery Panel
This embroidery panel was made in the late 18th century on the Greek island of Naxos. The embroideries of Naxos are the undisputed masterpieces of Cycladic embroidery. They are unique and instantly recognizable. They are usually worked on plain linen ground in uncoiled floss silk that was locally dyed rust-red, like this example. The dense overall pattern covers almost the entire ground fabric.The basic theme and pattern is a repeated foliate diamond shape, set within a diagonal trellis of a similar style.
Most Naxos embroidery is made out of a single shade of silk thread that the embroider stitched in different directions so the thread caught the light and made the monochrome silk appear to be two-tone. Half of this panel was embroidered in the aforementioned style, but the other half was actually embroidered in two slightly different colors of red silk thread.
The people in this region placed great emphasis on the quality of their textiles. Homes tended to be small, and the main way each family displayed their wealth was by decorating their prominently featured wooden beds with fine textiles. Because they were such an important part of familial wealth, most of the textiles that remain were bed furnishings. Based on the minor damage around the edges of this panel, it was probably the face of a pillow that would have been part of a well-to-do family’s bed furnishings.
Circa: Late 18th century
Origin: Naxos, Greece
Material: silk on linen
Condition: Good. Minor damage around edges and one small black mark.
Dimensions: 18.25" x 44"
Inventory number: TX4577