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