Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Module 4 chapter 1b

In this chapter I chose to look at a single flower and see how it differs in it’s embroidered translation, depending on the country of origin.

I chose a tulip, which originates from Hungary, and when the country came under Ottoman rule in the mid 1500’s, the flower then arrived in Turkey. The Turks adopted it as their symbol of life and fertility. The name was derived from the habit of the Ottoman sultan’s of wearing a tulip in their turban, the Persian word for which is Tulipan.

In 1562 the first tulip arrived in Europe via Antwerp.

It would appear that from the very beginning tulips have been connected with fertility.




These 2 pieces are part of a bed curtain from Slovakia featuring pulled threadwork and satin stitch.

‘To protect the mother and newborn child from evil spirits, both were confined for forty days behind the an embroidered curtain. Pulledwork enabled the mother to see into the room and and the designs were usually symbolic, here the tulip of fertility.’ Embroidered Textiles Sheila Paine


Different countries had used different symbolism for childbirth and Christening of a baby.
In Griffons, Switzerland the protection was offered by the symbolic tree of life with the fertility motifs of carnation and tulip.’Embroidered Textiles Sheila Paine

I also found a beautiful tulip embroidery on an Elizabethan glove which is in the the V&A collection and can be seen here


In the course of my research I found Hedebo Embroidery, which is beautiful whitework made in Denmark, and amongst the collection of designs was this delightful tulip which is known as the Hedebo flower.





Shiela Paine Embroidered Textiles Traditional Patterns from Five Continents with a worldwide guide to identification Thames and Hudson 1995 London


Mike Young Photo library


  1. I have a vase of fresh tulips on my table....fertility?? Yikes...best give them to someone else!!

  2. A very interesting post Sharon, thanks for sharing.