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The lions' cloth from Sa...
Room 15



Textiles and clothing

Anonymous

The lions' cloth from Santa Maria in L'Estany

Almohad Empire of Al-Andalus
Beginning of the second half of the 12th century
Lampas, taffeta base and pattern, gold brocaded binding in “honeycomb” effect. Two white silk warps, background and pattern warps, one red silk background weft, one red silk pattern weft and one gold thread pattern weft
13.5 x 19 cm; 4.5 x 5 cm; 3 x 7.5 cm
From the monastery of Santa Maria in L'Estany (Bages)
MEV 4133, 7775, 7776

Andalusian fabric. It is decorated with horizontal rows of circles with two lions rampant facing each other, with opposing bodies and the heads face to face of brocaded gold, separated by the tree of life. In the gaps between the circles there is an eightpointed star, of brocaded gold. The circles are not tangential with each other, as were those on the Andalusian fabrics of the first half of the 12th century – there is a line separating them both vertically and horizontally. This means that they almost form a square that has as vertices the centre of the star, in which the circle is inserted. It is a beginning of the geometricization of the circles pattern and of the decoration of fabrics in general as a result of the invasion of Al-Andalus by the Almohads, from North Africa, strict followers of the Sunna and, therefore, in favour of the elimination of living beings from artistic decoration and the use of geometric shapes. Similar to the 'Lions' cloth from Santa Maria in L'Estany' are the 'Lions' cloth from Cuenca' (Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid), a cloth from the Instituto de Valencia de Don Juan de Madrid, and one from the Museo Arqueológico de León, from a tomb in the cathedral. The fact that several of them have been found with a practically identical decorative pattern suggests that they were mass-produced, almost certainly destined for the Christian market.


Room 15
Floor 1
9-10-11 Gothic Art
12-13-14 Renaissance
15-16 Textiles and Clothing
17 Glass