37.5 cm (length)
62 cm (width)
Production time
Production place
Type of object


Skirt border, linen and cotton with silk thread, Crete, 1600s Traditional Cretan embroidery is often very highly coloured and uses a variety of stitching techniques. Sometimes patterns were drawn freehand onto the fabric, but they were also worked out by counting the threads in the fabric. Embroiderers embellished textiles used for church decorations, pillows, valances and hems of dresses using designs drawn from the rich mythology of Ancient Crete and the Minoan, Byzantine, and Italian cultures that have all influenced the history of the island. Typically they feature complex floral designs, mermaids, double-headed eagles, winged snakes, and other animals and birds. This embroidered border was collected by Thomas Sandwith, British Consul-General in Crete from 1870 to 1885. Linen warp/ cotton weft ground, embroidered in red silk, Cretan feather, chain and stem stitches with French knots, wide border of plant forms emclosing male and female figures, standing on a scroll border, pattern is interspersed with ships, birds and snakes.