October 25, 2012

Portugal - a living museum of embroidery - part II

Olá! This a week we'll continue on our trip through Portugal, a living museum of embroidery. Today we'll be indoors, visiting an old family house near Estremoz, in the Portuguese region of Alentejo. Rural houses in the Alentejo countryside are called Montes. Monte means a small hill, an elevation, and in this region, very well known by its vast plains, usually houses were built on small hills. 

These photos were taken on a rainy day, like today... Which is not very typical once Portugal is a shining country!! But I believe this transmitted a special and beautiful light to the photos. Hope you like them!

I believe that most of the embroidery pieces pictured were made by the grandmother and the great grandmother of the actual owners of the property, but I cannot be sure. I know both were great embroiderers since they have some signed beautiful pieces of embroidery. Most probably the photos show some designs and technique inspired by Portuguese Traditional Embroidery, but in this case again I cannot prove it. Beginning with this dresser cover, that I believe was inspired by Alinhavados from Nisa...

Vintage embroidered dresser cover, photo by ZPmoreira
This floral silk embroidery is of unique beauty and, believe me, no photo would be able to show the richness of the stitches and all marvellous details. It is framed and signed by the grandmother of the actual owners.

Vintage stitches...
Beautiful framed piece of embroidery signed by the owner's grandmother, photo by ZPmoreira
It's easy to identify in these blue stitches the influence of Azores embroidery. And there were more similar to this one... All charmingly beautiful.

Inspired by Traditional Embroidery from Azores, Photo by ZPmoreira
I can't describe the singularity of this extremely little and exquisite piece of embroidery. I believe its inspiration comes from Madeira Embroidery. Check here and here to delight yourself with some details.

Inspired by Madeira embroidery, Photo by ZPmoreira
This dresser cover with floral design is so colorful... I find some resemblances with a specific type of Madeira Embroideries, but in this case I would be much more careful to make this association... Charming, anyway.

Floral embroidered dresser cover, Photo by ZPmoreira
Some of these embroideries were being used, but many others were kept in drawers. As it happens in many Portuguese homes. I really would like to shout out loud: "Embroideries out of the drawers"!!


  1. tudo muito bonito,
    e ainda mais bonito o resgate que você está fazendo.
    com abraços de MF

  2. When I first saw this I was amazed by how similar these pieces are to what we have here in Kerala, a state in South India.. It's probably the influence of the Christian missionaries who came from Portugal..

    Unfortunately, hardly anyone, not even the nuns, stitch anymore and what we get are all machine embroidered..

    Thank you for this lovely insight!

  3. i know how to embroider before, but not as lovely as these. ;-)