Piano Shawl hand embroidered in soft pastels

Piano Shawl hand embroidered in soft pastels


This beautiful cream silk shawl has beautiful silk embroidery in pastel colours over over a diagonal half of the surface.  The embroidery features a soft pink flower surrounded by pale green leaves, and hundreds of tiny pastel flowers dotted to fill the surface.  The shawl features a border of flowers close to the silk fringe.  The fringe is of exceptional quality.  It is ‘heavy’,  approx. 40cms wide – very long for this type of shawl.  The fringe has three bands of knots.

Overall this shawl is in exceptional condition with no signs of fading, and few if any marks, holes and a complete fringe. 

Silk shawls with fringes were made in China and  available by the first decade of the 19th century. Ones with embroidery and fringes were available in Europe and the Americas by 1820.

It was a square piece of cloth with plenty of embroidery and was folded in half like a triangle.  During part of the 19th century, romanticism took over and Parisian fashions dictated that the shoulders of women should be left uncovered. Spanish women copied the fashion and they found that the Manton de Manila was a very good thing to wear with these dresses, as the shawl provided some warmth to the bare shoulders.

They were called China crêpe shawls or China shawls, and in Spain, Mantones de Manila,  because they were shipped to Spain from China via the port of Manila.  The Phillipines does not have a silk industry so they could not have been produced there.   The importance of these shawls in fashionable women's wardrobes declined between 1865 and 1870 in Western culture. However, they became part of folk dress in a number of places including Germany, the Near East, various parts of Latin America, and Spain where they became a part ofRomani (gitana) dress especially in Andalusia and Madrid.  These embroidered items were revived in the 1920s under the name of Spanish shawls or Manila Shawls. Their use as part of the costume of the lead in the opera Carmen contributed to the association of the shawls with Spain rather than China.

The manton was also used to decorate grand pianos in houses, hence the name Piano Shawls.

Product code:  1140


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