Music has probably been there ever since the beginning of mankind. Man probably discovered music by hitting on a hollow log with a stick. With time musical instruments evolved and a few of the oldest musical instruments that were used during the early medieval period can be seen in the tapestry designs of those days.
If you are lucky you might find an early medieval tapestry that depicts noble ladies playing the portative organs, dulcimers being played by the young gentlemen and a few young peasant boys blowing thehumble penny whistle. The village fetes also became the theme of many wall hanging tapestries that depicted men and women singing and dancing, accompanied by different kinds of ancient instruments.
Musicologists of the early medieval period made it a point to make the history of musical instruments evident by depicting them on these hand woven tapestries. You will find the portative organ in the famous tapestry, “Lady with the Unicorn.” The main focus of this tapestry is to represent the hearing sense. This tapestry is a part of a 6-set series that you can find at the Cluny museum, Paris. The French tapestry in question portrays a beautiful lady who is playing on the portative organ, while being attended by a lion and a handsome unicorn.
With time wall hanging tapestries started picking up different kinds of musical themes. The 16th Century Flemish painters designed tapestries that depicted country village dances. There were images of musical instruments like drums, flutes, fiddles and portative organs. Then, by the 17th and the 18th centuries, panoramas of chateaux, palaces and villas with musical instruments adorned the wall tapestries. These are quite evident in Heirloom European Tapestries such as Chateau Versailles and Chateau Monceau.
The trend then changed over to depict still life. So, Painters such as Fragonard, Oudry, and Boucher in Veronese and France, Bernini, Caravaggio and others from Italy started designing floral tapestries. Although these were mainly intended for paintings, the tapestry weavers soon caught on and commissioned the painters to come up with cartoons of floral designs for the wall tapestry market.
19th Century saw William Morris producing tapestries for the decorative market. The Bouquet etViolon and The Stone Ledge with Vase tapestries started setting the trends to make decorative tapestries available to the common people. No more were Wall hanging tapestries meant only for the wealthy and the aristocrats. Even an average person could beautify his home through wall tapestries.
Till date, musical instruments continue to play a vital role when it comes to decorative wall tapestries. You can find them in different sizes, colors, themes and materials. You can also find tapestries that are reproductions of the hand woven and antique ones of the 15th century. Whether you want a European tapestry or one with a medieval theme, you can have it all.With or without musical instruments, you can buy tapestries that match your exact preferences so as to adorn your home in your style.