What is "Tapestry" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 14-Apr-2024 (3 months, 4 days ago)
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Tapestry is a form of textile art that involves weaving decorative designs or pictorial scenes using colored threads on a warp and weft framework. It is a complex and intricate technique that has a rich history and continues to be appreciated for its beauty and craftsmanship. This article provides a detailed exploration of the meaning, history, types, tips for handling, and profiles of top international users and manufacturers of tapestry.

Meaning and Definition

Tapestry is a textile art form that involves creating intricate designs by weaving weft threads of different colors across a warp framework. The weft threads are carefully interlaced with the warp threads to produce a flat or slightly raised surface with a variety of patterns and textures. The designs in tapestries can range from geometric patterns to elaborate pictorial scenes, capturing stories, historical events, or simply showcasing aesthetic beauty.

History and Origin

Tapestry has a long history dating back to ancient civilizations. The art form originated in ancient Egypt and Greece and later gained popularity in Europe during the Middle Ages. It reached its peak during the Renaissance, where tapestries were highly valued as symbols of wealth and power. Royal courts and noble families commissioned tapestries to adorn their palaces and castles, showcasing their opulence and status.

Types of Tapestry

Tapestry can be categorized into various types based on their techniques, designs, and cultural influences. Some notable types include:

  1. Medieval Tapestries: These tapestries often depict religious or mythological scenes and are characterized by their rich colors and intricate detailing.
  2. Floral Tapestries: These tapestries feature intricate floral designs, capturing the beauty of nature with vibrant colors and delicate patterns.
  3. Contemporary Tapestries: Contemporary tapestries explore modern themes and artistic expressions, often incorporating abstract designs and experimental techniques.
  4. Navajo Tapestries: Navajo tapestries, also known as Navajo rugs, are created by Native American artisans using traditional weaving techniques. They often feature geometric patterns and earthy colors.
  5. Aubusson Tapestries: Aubusson tapestries originated in France and are known for their elegant designs, influenced by classical motifs and pastoral scenes.

Tips for Handling Tapestry

Handling tapestries requires special care to preserve their beauty and longevity. Here are some tips:

  1. Display and Hanging: Hang tapestries away from direct sunlight to prevent fading. Use proper mounting techniques and ensure the tapestry is evenly supported to avoid stress on the fabric.
  2. Cleaning: Regularly dust the tapestry using a soft brush or vacuum cleaner with a low suction setting. Professional cleaning may be necessary for deep cleaning or restoration.
  3. Protection: Protect tapestries from pests, such as moths, by storing them in clean, breathable fabric covers. Avoid storing tapestries in damp or humid areas to prevent mold or mildew.

Top International Users and Manufacturers

Tapestry continues to be appreciated and utilized by various international users and manufacturers. Here are some notable examples:

  1. Gobelins Manufactory: Founded in France in the 15th century, Gobelins Manufactory is renowned for producing exquisite tapestries for royalty and aristocracy. They continue to create intricate and luxurious tapestries to this day.
  2. Morris & Co.: Founded by William Morris in the 19th century, Morris & Co. is known for its revival of traditional tapestry weaving techniques. They produce high-quality tapestries with intricate designs inspired by nature and medieval art.
  3. Belgium Tapestries: Belgium is famous for its tapestry production, with manufacturers like Belgium Tapestries producing a wide range of tapestries featuring classic and contemporary designs.
  4. Galerie des Gobelins: Galerie des Gobelins in France is a prestigious gallery that showcases and promotes tapestry art. It exhibits works from renowned tapestry artists and manufacturers, preserving the heritage of tapestry.


Tapestry is a captivating form of textile art that has captivated civilizations for centuries. Its intricate designs, historical significance, and cultural diversity make it an enduring art form that continues to be appreciated by advanced textile enthusiasts and collectors. Whether it be the ancient tapestries of the past or the contemporary interpretations of the present, tapestry represents the mastery of weaving, storytelling, and aesthetic expression.

Tapestry is a form of textile art that involves weaving colorful patterns or images using a chain thread and striking threads. It can be handwoven on a loom, with the chain thread typically made of linen or wool, while the striking threads can be made of silk, wool, gold, silver, or any textile material. Originally, tapestries were woven by hand, with the design integrated into the fabric itself. However, machine-made tapestries created using the jacquard attachment have a smooth back and limited colors.

Tapestries often depict scenes of everyday life and have been symbols of wealth and nobility throughout history. They are durable and can be used for upholstery purposes. The fabric is typically heavy and ribbed, featuring intricate designs that portray historical or current pictorial displays. The weft-faced fabric design is achieved by using colored filling yarns in specific areas over visible spun warp yarns at the back. Tapestries are also closely woven and can incorporate fine binder warp and weft. Jacquard looms are commonly used to weave tapestries, and the fabric finds applications in wall hangings and upholstery.

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Did you know this fact? China is a leading producer of high-quality silk, with a significant portion coming from the city of Suzhou.
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