2055&D/1, 2-1876
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Skirt border, linen and cotton with silk thread, Crete, 1600s Traditional Cretan embroidery is often very highly coloured and uses a variety of stitching techniques. Sometimes patterns were drawn freehand onto the fabric, but they were also worked out by counting the threads in the fabric. Embroiderers embellished textiles used for church decorations, pillows, valances and hems of dresses using designs drawn from the rich mythology of Ancient Crete and the Minoan, Byzantine, and Italian cultures that have all influenced the history of the island. Typically they feature complex floral designs, mermaids, double-headed eagles, winged snakes, and other animals and birds. This embroidered border was collected by Thomas Sandwith, British Consul-General in Crete from 1870 to 1885. It was made for the hem of an embroidered petticoat or skirt, which would have been worn on a Festival day such as a wedding or a Saint's birthday. Linen and cotton ground, embroidered in polychrome silks, with a design of alternating vases of flowers with sirens and double-headed eagles, a floral pattern with broad scrolling stems, interspersed with animals, birds and small figures. Worked in Cretan feather, satin, split, stem and chain stitches.