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A Brief History of Commercial Embroidery_1

Embroidery is a three-dimensional art form, like sculpting but with thread. An embroidered blankets makes the difference between an off-the-shelf jacket or ball cap and a jacket or cap that carries an identity. Embroidery can advertise a companys logo or slogan as part of a functional piece of clothing, but the design is much more subtle than a billboard, or a guy in a sandwich board.

There is a long tradition of decorating products with embroidery. Examples survive from ancient Egypt, Iron Age Europe, and Song Dynasty China. Ancient Persia, India, Byzantium, medieval England, and Baroque Europe all embroidered clothing, religious objects, and household items as a mark of wealth and status.

Embroidered objects created for royalty were hand-decorated by skilled artisans. While princesses may have relied on sewing guilds and masters of the trade for fabulous ball gowns, hand embroidery is a traditional art form passed from generation to generation in many cultures. Many families have embroidered heirlooms preserved for many years as precious treasures.

A famous example of royal embroidery is the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The tapestry is 231 feet long. You need how many baseball caps? And you want a logo on each? No problem we embroidered the Norman Conquest. Incidentally, although called a tapestry, it is not. Tapestries are woven, but the Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth.

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