ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History   /  book reviews, articles

  Manto de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira, Estudo històrico. Conservação e Restauro, Instituto Português de Conservação e Restauro, by Paula Maria Tomaz and other authors, in Portuguese, 48 pages, lavishly illustrated with colores photos, ISBN 972-99476-I-9, Déposito legal: 220604/04

Instituto Português de Conservação e Restauro, Rua das Janelas Verdes, 1249-049,
Tel: ++213 934 200, fax: ++213 970 067,
      Many thanks go to Paula Maria Tomaz for sending the explanatory texts to the pictures, which are taken from the above publication.
This publication pursues historical, decorative and technical research (textile fibres, dyes, metallic alloys) concerning the garments of the 18th century life-size sculpture Holy Mother of Oliveira displayed on the high altar of the Collegiate Church Holy Mother of Oliveira in Guimarães.

The clothing on the statue comprises a cloak, a bodice and a skirt decorated with exotic flowers in silk and metallic elements embroidered onto a silk fabric with metallic thread. Its origin has not yet been fully determined, but in spite of the Oriental design it may be Portuguese.

An interventive treatment was carried out enabling the display of the garments in a museum setting. It was carried out during the years 2002/03 at the Textiles Department of the Portuguese Institute of Conservation and Restoration in Lisbon within the broad framework of the Projecto Operacional da Cultura (POC).
  Nossa Senhora da Oliveira, engraving in Ernesto Soares, Inventário da colecção de registo de Santos, BNL, Lisboa, 1995, p. 207.
The garments identify the Holy Mother of Oliveira, in accordance to the feminine medieval fashion, shown in the long skirt, large cloak and mainly in the long, pedent sleaves on the bodice. It justifies the attempt to set up a parallel between the devocional image costume and the feminine civil costume, seeking similarity and finding cultural and chronological horizonts.
  18 century garments, object of conservation treatment at IPCR,
preset similar characteristics to those of Holy Mother of Oliveira's sculpture.

The Cloack (107x272 cm) has a ellipsoidal form, it is in border decorated with exuberant flowers similar to those of the skirt. All the garments' elements are made in lamé cloth. Some flowers display a lamella stitch. As to the bodice, the front is decorated, as well as the coat-tail.
  Large and long skirt (103x146 cm), over 3 times the bodice height, with a profusion of coloured embroidery flowers in both front and back.
    Front bodice with direct embroidery in silk and metal thread work.
    Bodice garment (height: 35 cm; sleeve length: 100 cm), the front is decored with surface couching in gold thread and silk.

Flower motiv in apliqué embroidery with spangles filling.
Detail of flower motive of Bodice garment.
Lamella filling stitches.

Brick stich shading stitches.
French knots stitches.
  Abstract of a paper by Paula Maria Tomaz, in: Conservar Patrimonio, Nr. 1, 2005, p. 55,
concerning a chasuble, treated with similar methods.
A chasuble from the textile collection of the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga underwent a laboratorial study prior to the conservation treatment. The analyses gave vegetable fibres for the support layers used in the embroidered strips (orphreys), in the applied embroidered figures, in the volume in-filling threads of those applied embroidered figures, and the intermediate linning support layer. The patterned silk, the back linning, and the embroidery threads of the orphreys are made of ungummed silk. Trough X-ray fluorescence spectrometry the main component of the metallic embroidery threads was found to be silver, although other metals were also detected. These results together with the observations made using a metallographic microscope and a scanning electron microscope suggest that the golden threads should be gold plated silver, which was commonly used between the 15th and 17th Centuries. There is also a description of the condition survey and treatment intervention, which includes the application of an nylon support as a consolidation method on the embroidered figures, opposed to the traditional method, which was thought to be inadequate for the present case.

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