Towel/Napkin, Chained cats

The “Chained Cats” towel/napkin design is typical of the 15th C. trend in patterns, and cats are a popular motif in this type of textiles, especially in the area around Florence. All the patterns were literally used for centuries, and any medieval design might well appear in the folk textiles still woven in the region. Cats can be seen in this example in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, this example in the German National Museum, and this example in the Cooper Hewitt Museum. The pattern for our tablecloth was taken directly from a 15th C. textile fragment in the Collezione Rocchi in Florence (which is not online). 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 multiple 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.

  • Design is was taken directly from a 15th C. textile fragment in the Collezione Rocchi in Florence
  • Linen warp, cotton weft, same as the original
  • Body is woven in the bird's eye weave of the originals
  • Band patterns are woven with indigo-dyed yarn
  • 15" x 120" approx
  • Machine washable
  • Discrete blanket stitch edge finish
  • Hand knotted fringe on both ends
  • Machine washable

(Jug is for display purposes only and is not included)



$16.95

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  • Model: SL-TL04
  • Shipping Weight: 0.5lbs




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