The Power of Textiles: Tapestries of the Burgundian Dominions (1363-1477)
By Katherine Anne Wilson
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Textiles were used as markers of distinction throughout the Middle Ages and their production was of great economic importance to emerging and established polities. This book explores tapestry in one of the greatest textile producing regions, the Burgundian Dominions, c.1363-1477. It uses documentary evidence to reconstruct and analyse the production, manufacture, and use of tapestry. It begins by identifying the suppliers of tapestry to the dukes of Burgundy and their ability to spin webs between city and court. It proceeds by considering the forms of tapestry and their functions for urban and courtly consumers. It then observes the ways in which tapestry constructed social relations as part of gift-giving strategies. It concludes by exploring what the re-use, repair, and remaking of tapestry reveals about its value to urban and courtly consumers. By taking an object-centred approach through documentary sources, this book emphasises that the particular characteristics of tapestry shaped the strategies of those who supplied it and the ways it performed and constructed social relations. Thus, the book offers a contribution to the historical understanding of textiles as objects that contributed to the projection of social status and the cultural construction of political authority in the Burgundian polity.
Katherine Anne Wilson is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Chester. Her research interests lie in understanding the relationship between social and cultural change, and shifting patterns in the use of material culture in the later Middle Ages. She has worked and published on the circulation of tapestry and luxury goods of the Burgundian Netherlands as well as the biographies of their producers and consumers.