Towel/Napkin, Gryphon

The "Gryphon" towel/napkin design is typical of the 14th C. trend in patterns. All the patterns were literally used for centuries, and any medieval design might well appear in the folk textiles still woven in the region.

The checkerboard and a motif that could be animals or gryphons can be seen in the Lombard manuscript ‘The Story of Lancelot’ dated 1370 (Biblioteque nationale, Paris, MS. fr. 343, 31v). Gryphons were a popular design component and like most patterns of the period are arranged in pairs which face each other (combatant) as in this example in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Gryphons dominate the woven bands on the cloth in this painting of the Last Supper by Ghirlandaio. Complete documentation is included with each item.

The napkin/towel is 15" X 120" (approx) with hand knotted fringe ends. The towels are cut from our tablecloths and as such the patterns match.

In the 14th and 15th C. napkins were shared by 2 or more people, being laid across the laps of adjacent diners. Every diner having their own napkin seems to be an early-mid 16th C. evolution in dining custom. Long towels/napkins are frequently seen in use by servers, in the 14th and 15th C., in bringing food to the table,  Appearing very late in the 15th C. the practice of draping the napkin over the shoulder while dining didn't really become standard practice until the 16th C.

Towels are seen in innumerable paintings; they appear in bathing scenes, wrapped around babies, thrown over the shoulders of nurses and servants, and hang near lavers in domestic scenes. They could be used to cover trays, as small table covers and as aprons. They were also laid on the edges of the dining table over the tablecloth to protect it. When hung over the shoulder, they reach to the upper or mid thigh. When hung near the ceiling of the room the end appears to be at about eye level.

The napkin/towels are the perfect length to be shared by 2 diners; they are a good size in the washroom or kitchen when folded in half and hung over a towel rail; they are the perfect size to be used as a runner on a table; they also make very nice "placements" when placed across the width of the table to be shared by diners sitting across from each other.

  • Linen warp, cotton weft
  • Indigo dyed blue
  • 15"x120" approx
  • Discrete blanket stitch edge finish
  • Hand knotted fringe on both ends
  • Machine washable

(Jug is for display only and is not included with the set)


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  • Model: SL-TL02
  • Shipping Weight: 0.5lbs

Current Reviews: 1

This product was added to our catalog on Sunday 28 September, 2008.