Beautiful Antique Velvet Italian Textile, Origin: Italy – The art of velvet weaving has been around since ancient Egypt, but in the early Renaissance, Italy and Spain became famous for their beautiful velvet works. The earliest centers of production were Florence, Genoa, and Lucca. This gorgeous antique piece demonstrates the skill of the Italian weavers and the level of artistry they were able to achieve.
Velvet is a cut pile weave that is created on a special loom. Italian weavers took it to a new level by developing a double pile technique where one layer of fabric absorbs light and a lighter layer on top reflects it. When you stroke a piece of this fabric with your hand, it creates a wave-like effect. During the 1400s, velvet weavers were forbidden from leaving the city of Venice for fear that these secrets would be divulged.
Italian velvet requires more time and material to weave than ordinary cloth or other types of velvet. It became associated with the wealthy class. By the 1500s, the market for velvet was so large that nearly one-fifth of the population of Venice was working in the silk and velvet trade, and Venice was the leading exporter.
Today, only a few velvet factories still exist that weave using the famed Italian Soprarizzo technique, and their items are still exclusive and hold a high value. This gorgeous piece is an extraordinary piece of history, and it is small enough to use as a piece of wall art. This beautiful piece has a burgundy background with a finished edge, indicating that it was more than likely once used as a rug or table cover for special occasions.
One of the unique characteristics of Italian velvet is the difference between the pile and “ground” sections. The pile gives it a raised effect and interesting texture to the touch. This magnificent piece demonstrates the artistry and skill that made Italian velvet some of the most desirable in the world. It would make an excellent piece for your antique textile collection or as a statement piece for any decor from traditional to contemporary.