STUNNING Antique Nineteenth Century French Religious Banner with Stump Work Embroidery
This type of religious textile, with much metallic gilt thread and embroidery was popular during and just after the time of Napoleon III. This period in religious art produced fantastic and richly ornamented decorative accessories for the Church which includes textiles, crowns, Sacred Heart ex votos, statues and votive stands.
This large banner would have served at an altar. The center motif, a pelican piercing it's breast to feed it's young, is a much used symbolic one from the period. The pelican was believed to pierce its own breast with its beak and feed its young of its blood. It became a symbol of Christ sacrificing himself for man – and because of this was frequently represented in Christian art. (the Dalmatian pelican's pouch turns red during the breeding season).
The Stump Work metallic gilt and silver medallion is sewn onto a thick background of cotton/metallic thread fabric banner. The pelican is composed of many tiny curved silver metallic thread ribs, which gives depth to it's body. The face and beak are of tight rows of silver metallic thread. The wings have a top edge of tight rows of silver metallic thread with cascading silver paillettes or sequins sewn with silver metallic thread. Red silk embroidery thread accents the bird's breast and the beaks of the babies. The bird's head is outline in red thread. It sits on a gold fabric/metallic gilt fabric nest, with metallic braid . There are three stands of deep green chenille thread beneath the bird. There are long rayons surrounding the medallion composed of gilt paillettes and metallic braid.
The top and bottom of the banner are ornamented with a large (2") scalloped metallic braid. The bottom of the banner is embellished with gilt metallic bullion fringe (2 7/8" long) Each side is embellished with gilt metallic bullion fringe (7/8" long). The fringe is simply luxurious and adds a jewel-like quality to the banner.
The back is lined with a simple gold cotton. Rings have been hand sewn to the top for use in hanging. The entire banner measures 55" long and 13" inches high (not including bullion trim). It is in very good antique condition: The pelican medallion is in excellent condition with little wear.The metallic bullion is in very good condition with little wear. There is little wear to the front background fabric, (this fabric views like moire silk......the light reflects pattern waves which change the color slightly, you will notice this somewhat in the photos....the color when viewed straight on is consistent with not fading noted. The backing is faded and has one tear bottom center. It has staining typical with leaning against a wooden table which has been polished. Please study the photos as they are the best description.
It is rare to find these banners intact: we often see the stump work medallion for sale alone. This is an exceptional French religious textile which is richly embellished.
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