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"Royal Tapestries of Wawel." Top 5 Page for this destination Wawel Castle Tip by breughel

Wawel Castle, Krakow: 172 reviews and 271 photos

  Tapestry made in Brussels.
by breughel

For a Belgian its sounds funny that the tapestries made in Brussels are called "Arrases".
Arras is a city from the north of France and there is, to my best knowledge, no tapestry made in Arras to be seen at the Wawel castle!
Actually Arras was in the 15th c. a town with a textile industry specializing in fine wool tapestries which were sold to decorate palaces and castles all over Europe. So that the term "Arras" is still used to name tapestries of that period even made elsewhere. Very few original Arras tapestries still exist because at the French revolution many of them were burnt to recover the silver and gold wires often woven into them.

In the 16th c., when the tapestries of the Wawel castle were commissioned (1553-1571) by King Sigismund II August, towns like Brussels, Oudenaerde, Tournai and others from the present Belgium had become the leading centers of tapestry manufacturing so that most of the tapestries shown at the castle are from Brussels or more generally from Flanders.

The tapestries from Brussels often show on the lower border the letter B B meaning Brussel-Brabant.
Sometimes the name of the weaver "lissier" is added. But that is not always the case.
Tracing the true origin of tapestries of that period is not easy. There were four actors: the customer usually choosing the subjects, a merchant established in one of the tapestry manufacturing towns, a painter preparing the colored sketch called "carton" and finally the weavers "lissiers". Several were working on one tapestry. It has been calculated that one "lissier" would weave about 1 square meter in one month! In Brussels alone 15.000 persons were active in that field of decorative art.

As photos are not allowed inside the castle I'm showing here a photo found on the internet.

Address: Wawel castle
Phone: +48 12 422 51 55

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 5, 2010
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Comments (1)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 2, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    I remember you showing me the letter B B meaning Brussel-Brabant at the corner of some of those great tapestries that we saw at the Louvre in Paris.


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