noun \ˈta-pə-strē\

: a heavy cloth that has designs or pictures woven into it and that is used for wall hangings, curtains, etc.

: something made up of different things, people, colors, etc.

plural tap·es·tries

Full Definition of TAPESTRY

a :  a heavy handwoven reversible textile used for hangings, curtains, and upholstery and characterized by complicated pictorial designs
b :  a nonreversible imitation of tapestry used chiefly for upholstery
c :  embroidery on canvas resembling woven tapestry <needlepoint tapestry>
:  something resembling tapestry (as in complexity or richness of design) <nature's rich tapestry>

Origin of TAPESTRY

Middle English, modification of Anglo-French tapicerie, from tapit, tapis carpet, hanging, from GK tapētion, diminutive of tapēt-, tapēs carpet
First Known Use: 15th century

Other Textiles Terms

batt, bias, brocade, duck, flock, lawn, toile


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Heavy, reversible, patterned or figured hand-woven textile, usually in the form of a hanging or upholstery fabric. Tapestries are usually designed as single panels or as sets of panels related by subject and style and intended to be hung together. The earliest known tapestries were made from linen by the ancient Egyptians. Tapestry weaving was well established in Peru by the 6th century, and outstanding silk tapestries were made in China beginning in the Tang dynasty (AD 618–907). In western Europe, tapestry making flourished from the 13th century. Among the greatest European tapestries are the 15th-century Lady with the Unicorn set and the 16th-century Acts of the Apostles set, based on cartoons by Raphael. Tapestry art was revitalized in late-19th-century Britain with the Arts and Crafts Movement. In the 20th century, abstract tapestries were produced at the Bauhaus, and many painters, including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, allowed their paintings to provide the basis for tapestry art.


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