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Woven silk-and-linen band
probably Italian, 16th century
5 x 37 in. (12.7 x 94 cm)

Detail of a sixteenth-century woven silk-and-linen double band depicting castles and lions flanking bicephalic birds. Although this type of weaving is common in Italy and generally follows motifs seen in period embroidery pattern books, the emblems of the castle and lion may also suggest a connection to Castile and Leon, Spain. The V&A suggests that the existence in inventories of textiles with "red silk needlework" or red "Spanish stitch" may actually refer to woven band insertions like this example.

Nearly identical fragments are in some museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (09.50.264, 274) and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (19.729). A towel with very similar bands at each end is in the V&A Museum (234-1880).

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