Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Tapestry, an ornamental fabric of the textile class, much used during the Middle Ages as a material for curtains and hangings, and to cover the walls and furniture of churches and baronial halls. The weft, which may represent any scene drawn from nature, history, or domestic life, is worked on the warp by a process essentially the same as tbat followed in weaving (q.v.). The material is usually silk or wool of various tones and hues, and in former times the design was frequently wrought in gold or silver thread. It is incorrect to use the term of fabrics in which the weft is produced by means of the needle. The art appears to have been introduced into Europe by the Saracens; hence the term Sarazinois applied to the fabric in mediaeval times. From Flanders, where it had taken root in the latter prrt of the 12th century, it was carried to various parts of Western Europe by the refugees who were driven from their fatherland by the tyranny of the Spaniards. "Arras," which long survived as a general name for European tapestry, recalled the Flemish town which had been especially noted for its manufacture. Since the early part of the 17th century the highest class of tapestries have been produced at the famous Gobelins (q.v.) works in France. Tapesty-weaving is said to have been introduced into England in the reign of Henry VII., and a manufactory existed at Mortlake from 1619 to 1703.