Tapestry of America

Photo: Mark Woods

Tapestry of America

late 17th century

Jan Cobus


Europeans were increasingly enthralled with the romance of far distant lands as more and more wonders of the world arrived on their doorstep. A vast array of metaphorical images depicted in the arts of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries evoked the lush sights, exotic sounds, and rich smells of those distant places. In the tapestry of America, for example, a noble Indian calmly surveys a world filled with allusions to the Americas, the New World. A parrot and monkey look down upon two children smoking beneficent tobacco. Ripe fruits and vegetables spill over in abundance, and gold doubloons and silver ingots litter the ground. The scene is allegory embodied-it is America as paradise. Allegorical representations of the continents, or the four quarters of the globe, were personified by female figures representing Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.
Wool; tapestry weave; natural dyes including indigo
156 x 144 1/8 in. (396 x 366 cm)
Gift of the Hearst Foundation, Inc.
Photo: Mark Woods
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Porcelain Stories: From China to Europe, Feb. 17 - May 7, 2000.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Mood Indigo: Textiles from Around the World, Apr. 9 - Oct. 9, 2016.
Published References"Selected Works." Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 1991, pp. 96-97

Emerson, Julie, Jennifer Chen, & Mimi Gardner Gates. "Porcelain Stories, From China to Europe". Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 2000, p. 232

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