bayeux tapestry

Bayeux tapestry

The medieval period did witness an array of bloody mayhems, conquests, defeats, wars, blood curdling killings, victory, and achievements and so on and so forth. These did effect upon the people’s psyche and that was reflected upon art, aesthetics, mundane day to day affairs such as weaving and embroidery too. Yes, sounds shocking, but true, an entire war was depicted upon a piece of cloth by stitching. A very long piece of cloth with embroidered projections of the war incidents is called the Bayeux tapestry.

tapestry art
tapestry art

The cloth:

The cloth was 70 meters long and 50 cm tall in length.

War portrayal:

The Norman conquest of England had been shown with every sequential detail and step wise events upon the piece of cloth.

Linen was stitched to form a continuous panel upon the piece of cloth. The battle at Hastings at 1066 has been shown as well. Important figures, like knights and dukes have been mirrored with coloured wool. The embroidery was really intricate and this shows the medieval skill and passion for art. This depicted skill and aesthetics too.

Well, when we talk about a war, its defeat or victory, we always consider a specific perspective and hence, in this case while stitching the events upon the cloth surface, the Norman perspective; rather the Norman approach was followed.

tapestry art
tapestry art

Intricacy upon the cloth:

A war depiction with every detail is not just a cake walk and hence, every intricate being and object had to be shown including, the fighters, knights, soldiers, weapons, and animals and so on and so forth. To make an approx listicle we can mention;

  • Trees
  • Ships
  • Buildings
  • Latin inscriptions
  • Mythological birds
  • Horses

The Bayeux tapestry had an array of fables on the border lines such as, the fox and the crow, wolf and the lamb, wolf and the kid, wolf and the crane and so on and so forth. an array of colours were used  such as dark blue , shades of green , contrasts of grey and blue , contrasts of blue and green , yellow . Unusual shades like tan and buff were also used.

This took 10 long years to be completed. This idea was conceived and was embroidered by nuns. All the war scenes were intricately depicted upon the cloth that too in sequential events. The scenes had distinct divisions. The base was linen panel upon which long coloured threads were used. Coloured wool made it look more heavy and pompous. Many say that it was custom made for the church.

The Bayeux tapestry per se had 72 scenes portrayed upon the cloth. Only a few women, just 3 were shown on the cloth and it is still preserved in France. This entire concept was so new in those days, that it was much praised.


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