The Bayeux Tapestry in beautiful Bayeux, Normandy
|As photography is not permitted, this is a picture of a photo of the tapestry.|
The first thing to know about the Bayeux Tapestry is that it isn't really a tapestry at all because the pictures aren't woven. Instead, the scenes recounting William of Normandy's conquest of England at the Battle of Hastings are embroidered on eight strips of fine linen that have been stitched together to form a work that is an amazing 230 feet (70 meters) long. The ten different colors of woolen yarn that were used to tell the tale are remarkably well preserved considering that nine centuries have passed since the tapestry was made.
Even though the primary purpose of the tapestry, which is probably from the County of Kent, could mistakenly be thought to glorify William's victory over Harold Godwinson, it actually illustrates the religious concept that perjury following an oath results in disastrous consequences.
|A display in the museum. Woad, madder and weld were used to produce the vegetable-based dyes.|
With its abundance of pictures (626 characters, 202 horses, 41 ships and 37 buildings) the tapestry provides a unique insight into life in the 11th century. By studying the scenes, which were made by using a combination of stem, chain, split and satin stitches, it's possible to learn a great deal about the clothing, weapons used in battle, horse riding, ship building, cooking and hunting. For example, one scene shows the loading of William's ships with the supplies necessary for battle: helmets, lances, coats of mail, wines in skins, and an assortment of barrels and bags. From a historical point of view, it's like looking at a series of photographs documenting life in the 11th century.
Bayeux Tapestry Museum
13 Rue de Nesmond
|A reproduction of a scene in the Bayeux Tapestry in the gift shop|