This medieval pattern, featuring round medallions with birds and the tree of life, was painstakingly restored from textile fragments discovered in the tomb of the Premyslid King of Bohemia Otakar II. This one holds sentimental value for us here at Sartor Bohemia – it was the very first historical pattern that we ever undertook to reproduce.
The motif – paired birds at the tree of life in repeating round medallions – was exceedingly popular in the early Middle Ages. The rounds are edged with leaves pointing up and to the center. The fowl are positioned with their bodies facing outward, but their heads turned to the central axis formed by a stylized tree of life. The space between medallions is filled with rosettes with a cruciform petal arrangement.
This device is likely of Byzantine origin but also betrays an Islamic influence. The original textile upon which our reproduction is based was found, along with the remains of King Otakar II, in the tomb at Saint Vitus Cathedral in Prague. An expert analysis places its origin in Venice in the 1360s or 1370s. This fabulous textile was draped over the coffin of the “King of Iron and Gold,” whose earthly remains it was later used to wrap.
The preserved fragments of the original textile are part of the Prague Castle art collection and have been studied in depth by Dr. Milena Bravermanova.
This historical brocade reproduction is a Jacquard weave with a pure silk warp and a weft of rayon and lurex. It catches the eye with its striking color and dramatic, raised surface, an effect achieved by alternating weaves. Premium material makes this brocade very sturdy, yet soft, gentle to the touch, and breathable.
Reproductions of period brocades such as this are perfect for sewing historical costumes and also bring something special to modern interiors or contemporary fashions.
We recommend lining this brocade with a natural material such as silk or fine linen.
We recommend dry cleaning this fabric at a reliable dry cleaner. Iron on the back side on a synthetic setting.