Antique (c. 1910) Exquisite Canton Manton de Manilla Dense Hand Embroidered Shawl
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Exquisite densely hand embroidered Manton de Manilla dating to the first quarter of the 20th century.

The Manila galleon trade was started in 1565 by Andres de Urdaneta, who discovered the route from Manila to Mexico. The Spanish king allowed the Filipinos to trade with the Chinese in Canton. They brought silks, ivory, furniture, porcelain, lacquerware, and spices from Canton to Manila and the Chinese merchants were paid for these goods with silver coins from Mexico. Then, once or twice a year, the galleon went to Acapulco through the route discovered by Urdaneta. The merchandise then traveled overland from Acapulco to Veracruz. At Veracruz the merchandise was put on ships that traveled in convoy to Seville. The Manila Galleon trade stopped in 1815 when the Mexican War of Independence took place. One of the items that came from Canton to Manila was the silk shawl. It was a square piece of cloth with plenty of very fine embroidery. The shawl was folded in half like a triangle and worn over the shoulders of women. This shawl became known as the Manton de Manila, although it was not made in Manila, but was made in Canton. The Manton de Manila soon became very popular in Seville, Andalucia and in Latin America and became emblematic of the bohemian art scene in America. The embroidered shawls from Canton had many themes, Chinese people, garden scenes, pagodas, birds and flowers. The embroidery soon changed to more romantic blousy florals that were popular with the women of Seville. The women of Seville also asked that deep fringes be added to the borders of the shawls, so that when one wore the shawl, there would be movement of the fringes, which would call attention to the wearer.

This amazing shawl in a glorious array of florals and birds, in rare mystical hues, with expert satin stitch embroidery sensitively shaded, with long hand knotted fringe on four sides. One of the most dramatic I've seen. Weighs 7 lbs.

Measures 62″ square with additional 28″ macrame knotted fringe

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