• Thjms_10902
  • Thjms_10902a
  • Thjms_10902b

Tapestry

artist unknown 1600-1700

Little is known about the origins of this large tapestry. It includes panels decorated with flower buds and seven circles with embroidered images that depict stories from the life and death of Jesus Christ. The narrative runs from the right to the left. Flower patterns adorn the spaces between the circle frames. Angels in ellipses blow their instruments on either side of the baptism scene, the second circle from the right, along with a single putto. Whoever made this embroidered cloth was skilled in the flower decorations but the human portraits were a more challenging task for this textile artist. No information exists about the use of this tapestry but it was most likely made for a church. The cloth is made from linen, embroidered with a stem stitch in colourful wool yarn. The inscriptions are embroidered with the old cross stitch.
The Virgin Mary is on the far right with a crown and halo, holding Jesus in her arms. The next scene depicts John baptising Jesus in the river Jordan when the Holy Spirit appears in the form of a dove hovering above. This is followed by a scene of Christ on the cross. Mary and John stand by the cross and the two crucified thieves can be seen on each side. The middle depicts Jesus’ burial. Most of the people present have halos and one of them raises him up. A single being in the foreground wears a tall hat and bells in his belt. The next scene depicts the risen Christ in front of the tomb with a flag of victory in his hand, surrounded by armed and frightened people. The next scene depicts the ascension of Jesus. The disciples watch him disappear into the sky but his footprint is left behind in the image. The scene furthest to the left is of the Holy Spirit appearing from sky in the form of a dove. Its rays of light reach the eleven apostles who look to the sky in fear. Judas did not make it on to the linen as is so often his fate.

Þjms 10902
The National Museum of Iceland