Darning sampler - ROM2014_14421_5


Darning sampler

Medium:Linen tabby with silk embroidery, drawnwork, and needle lace
Geography: Mexico
Date: late 18th century
27 x 32 cm
Object number: 2002.19.29
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. W. Kent Newcomb. Certified by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act. Attestée par la Commission canadienne d'examen des exportations de biens culturels en vertu de la Loi sur l'exportation et l'importation de biens culturels.
Not on view

This sampler is worked in drawn work with birds, animals, pomegranates, floral and border patterns, and one corner embroidered with a rooster and stag. Linen tabby with silk embroidery drawn work and needle lace trim. Although pre-Conquest garments were sometimes embellished with decorative stitching, the colonial period brought an emphasis on embroidery. Animals, birds, and flowers were often represented in satin stitch, with subtle shading and intricate variations of colour. Cross stitch, fashionable in 19th century Europe, had an enormous impact in Mexico, as did appliqué and cutwork. Deshilado (drawn work), which was popular in Spain, was used to embellish white linen wedding shirts and altar cloths. And during the colonial period, Spanish lace was imported into Mexico for use by the elite, but was also taught locally. Most of these techniques remain current today. Spanish needlework techniques were widely taught in Mexican convents. Exemplars, or samplers, allowed pupils to practice their newly-acquired skills, and provided useful memoranda of stitches and designs. Few, if any, samplers survive from the early decades of colonial rule, but 18th and 19th century examples offer invaluable information about popular embroidery styles. Today, in rural Mexico where clothing is still embroidered, samplers from girlhood are kept and consulted, and play a vital role in continuing this needlework tradition.

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