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Birds and Beasts

Wool tapestry fragment depicting birds and beasts, Flemish, 1300–50

Wool tapestry fragment depicting birds and beasts, Flemish, 1300–50

Tapestry fragment woven with wool wefts and wool warps depicting Parrots and Dragons. Trellis with four large lozenges with alternating stylized pink dragons on green grounds and addorsed yellow parrots with red beaks and legs with two flowers between against blue grounds, interspersed with a bull’s head in yellow, cream or pink against a red ground in the centre and partial lozenges with quartrefoil leaves in cream against red around the edges.

This rare fragment is the oldest European tapestry in The Burrell Collection. It is one of very few examples of German tapestry weaving to have survived from the early 1300s. It may have part of a larger wall hanging that was originally in the Dominican Convent, Adelhausen (now in the Augustiner Museum, Freibyrg im Breisgau). Later it was part of the Forrer and Figdor Collections, before being purchased by Sir William Burrell on 25 August 1933.

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