Judith weighs in

19 Feb

This topic is getting heavy.  About one hundred pounds of heavy.


Unknown artist, “Judith Dining in the Camp of Holofernes,” 17th century, Flemish tapestry: Wool, Silk; Tapestry Weave, 343 x 318 cm, Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, California, US


This tapestry of Judith and Holofernes having a bite to eat is about 11 feet tall and 11 feet wide – and probably weighs about 100 pounds.  Not to mention it is over 400 years old.  As I look at this and the other weavings, I began to wonder:  how do you move one of these tapestries across the world without damaging it?

I found a very detailed article from the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the subject here.  Let’s just say: to travel thousands of miles by land and air, it requires:

  • a really big plane – which can only take-off from one of three airports in Europe
  • to carry a really big crate with a really big tube
  • to arrive in the US where it sits to acclimatize to the temperature and humidity of its new (temporary) home
  • before being gently transported to the exhibition space where it is unrolled
  • then carefully attached with heavy-duty Velcro (!!) to a long wooden slat with hooks
  • which are threaded with thin copper wires to secure the tapestry to the wall
  • after it has been lifted by a rope and pulley system from the floor to the wall.
  • All very, very carefully.

I will never sneer at a tapestry again.  It might fall on me.

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Posted by on February 19, 2015 in Distracted


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