Thursday, February 22, 2007


"Primitive man's sealing of contracts with blood, his marking of possessions, and the decorating of graves with red ochre finds an echo in the extraordinary power of red in Western European embroidery. While costume and embroideries for the home slavishly follow fashions, linen articles for the trousseau remain resolutely monogrammed and numbered in red cross stitch. This custom of marking ritual textiles in red is almost inextricably bound to the life-consuming production of the home-grown, handspun, handwoven linen. Replaced by purchased cotton, the bottom drawer linen of continental Europe is still marked in red."

Sheila Paine, Embroidered Textiles: Traditional Patterns from Five Continents, Thames and Hudson, London 1995, p.150


Blogger Arielle said...

Yes, my mother's dowry was marked in red and I didn't know that it was a customary thing to do in Western Europe. I had always thought that my grand-mother had found her own way to mark the linen she was giving to my mother for her wedding!
Now, I will look at these red markings in a different way and I will feel, in a small way, part of a much larger community ...

4:27 pm  

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