Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Beaded Basket

I've been busy working on my Bag of Beads project for the Toronto Bead Society as the big reveal approaches on March 10th. Now that the Olympics are over, it's not as easy to sit in front of the TV for several hours but with the deadline approaching fast, I am motivated to finish.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share these photos of an amazing beaded basket they have on display at the Royal Ontario Museum. It was made in England in - are you ready for this? - 1656!! I've made the photos a little larger in the hope that you can see the detail, as this truly is a work of art.

I have to quote the description for you, as it is quite fascinating: "New coloured glass beads from Venice and Amsterdam were highly prized in the 17th century and gave status to the elite. The beads are composed to imitate a silver basket form that held a baby's linen at the christening. Scholars believe that these beaded baskets were made by professionals or sold as kits.

This lavish ceremonial beaded basket commemorates the successful union of a couple marked by the birth of their child. The inscription around the base reads WHERE VERTUE* IS THE CAUSE OF LOVE NOTHING BUT DEATH CAN IT REMOVE. ANNE ROUNDELL ANNO 1656. The husband and wife, in fashionable dress, are depicted diagonally opposite each other. They are surrounded by luscious fruits and flowers that carry secular and religious meanings."

This bottom picture shows the detail of the husband and wife sections and the border which wraps around the bottom of the basket, which I love. It's hard to see clearly but in the top photo, the section with the wife is in the top right hand corner of the basket.

Incredible, isn't it? (and no, what I'm making for the Bag of Beads project won't hold a candle to this!!)

*note that this is not a typo on my part, it is how the word "virtue" is spelled on the basket.


Eva Maria Keiser said...

Wonderful and beautiful work!

Satine said...

Love the Beaded baskets. It is truly a divine piece of beadwork!