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Bed Hanging

At the bottom of this crewel work bed hanging, rockeries alternate with hillocks enlivened by couchant deer and lions. Above, familiar squirrels and exotic birds, including peacocks and parrots, are hidden amid the large leaves and flowers.

Artist/maker unknown, English

Made in England, Europe

Late 17th century

Cotton twill weave with wool embroidery in long and short, woven filling, satin, split, cross, stem, couching, straight, and chain stitches and French knots; linen cross and straight stitches

6 feet 9 1/2 inches × 8 feet (207 × 243.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of the Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1996

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With its brilliantly rendered exotic foliage, this bed hanging shows the influence of the East on European decorative arts. The curtain was likely part of a set of dressings for a four-poster bed. The decoration resembles patterns found on Indian export textiles, such as chintz (floral printed calico cloths) and palampores (painted and dyed cotton bed coverings). The hanging’s interweaving branch pattern is a transposition of the Indian “Tree of Life” design, which features stylized branches growing upward from a central tree trunk. The conventionalized landscape along the bottom is similar to designs found on Chinese robes.