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Fragment of a Tapestry or Wall Hanging

Date:
ca. 1420–30
Geography:
Made in Basel, Switzerland
Culture:
Upper Rhenish
Medium:
Tapestry weave: wool on linen
Dimensions:
33 7/16 x 29 1/2 in. (85 x 75 cm)
Classification:
Textiles-Tapestries
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1990
Accession Number:
1990.211
  • Description

    This tapestry fragment represents a fabulous lionlike beast with pointed teeth, clawed feet, and a scaly rump. The remainder of the tapestry (or Rücklaken as such hangings are called in contemporary sources), which survives in the monastery of Muri Gries near Bolzano, represents courtly figures subduing similar fantastic animals. Such beasts, derived from those illustrated in classical and medieval texts on the nature of animals, symbolize vices related to concupiscence; they are subdued, which suggests the figures posed with them have conquered libidinous cravings. Such tapestries were displayed in domestic interiors at frieze level, offering decoration as well as insulation.

  • Provenance

    Benedictine abbey at Muri, Canton Aargau, Switzerland; Benedictine abbey at Muri, Canton Aargau , Switzerland (until about 1800) ; Peter Vischer-Sarasin , Schloss Wildenstein, near Bubendorf, Switzerland (by 1841/43) ; by descent to Peter Vischer-Passavant , Schloss Wildenstein, near Bubendorf, Switzerland ; by descent to Peter Vischer-Milner-Gibson , Schloss Wildenstein, near Bubendorf, Switzerland (until 1989) ; Christie's, London (July 3, 1990, lot 110b)

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
466178

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