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  • Place of origin:

    Dodecanese Islands (made)
    Astypalaia (made)

  • Date:

    1750-1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered in silk and silver thread on silk, in cross, two-sided Italian cross, woven hem-stitching and buttonhole stitches

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs George Eumorphopoulos

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 1, case CA4

This length of embroidered silk may have been worn as a headscarf, but it is also possible that it was intended as a ceremonial towel for a child's christening.
Astypalaia is the westernmost island of the Dodecanese group of Greek Islands. It was under the control of the Venetian Quirini family for several hundred years, until the mid 16th century, and its range of embroidery styles show some Italian influence. This piece, however, has a design based on the Turkish mosque and cypress tree pattern, although in this case the building depicted has a cross on top, and may represennt a christian church or monastry. It also has a double headed eagle derived from Byzantine decoration. Both of these elements are found on other examples of this type of scarf or towel. The smaller birds along its edges represent partridges or doves.

Physical description

Long scarf or towel, embroidered in coloured silks (blue, green, black, yellow, orange and pink) and silver thread, with drawn threadwork and silk fringe at either end and narrower border of embroidery along sides. Architectural motif in row of four at the ends representing a church or monastery, with tiny figures and trees alongside. Running motif of birds along each long side. There is also a motif of a double-headed eagle in the main field, surrounded by smaller birds.

Place of Origin

Dodecanese Islands (made)
Astypalaia (made)


1750-1800 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embroidered in silk and silver thread on silk, in cross, two-sided Italian cross, woven hem-stitching and buttonhole stitches


Length: 2130 mm including fringe, Width: 465 mm

Descriptive line

embroidered in silk and silver thread on silk, 1750-1800, Greek; Dodecanese, Astypalaia

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Pauline Johnstone, Victoria and Albert Museum : A Guide to Greek Island Embroidery, HMSO, 1972, pl.39.
Tatiana Ioannou-Yannara, Greek Embroidery 17th-19th Century. Works of Art from the Collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Angeliki Hatzimihali Foundation, 2007, cat. 106, p.276






Children & Childhood; Embroidery; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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