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Tapestry is a form of textile art, woven on a vertical loom. It is composed of two sets of interlaced threads, those running parallel to the length (called the warp) and those parallel to the width (called the weft); the warp threads are set up under tension on a loom, and the weft thread is passed back and forth across part or all of the warps. Tapestry is weft-faced weaving, in which all the warp threads are hidden in the completed work, unlike cloth weaving where both the warp and the weft threads may be visible. In tapestry weaving, weft yarns are typically discontinuous; the artisan interlaces each colored weft back and forth in its own small pattern area. It is a plain weft-faced weave having weft threads of different colours worked over portions of the warp to form the design.[1][2]

Most weavers use a naturally based warp thread such as linen or cotton. The weft threads are usually wool or cotton, but may include silk, gold, silver, or other alternatives.



First attested in English in 1467, the word tapestry derives from Old French "tapisserie", from "tapisser", meaning "to cover with heavy fabric, to carpet", in turn from "tapis", "heavy fabric", via Latin "tapes",[3] which is the romanization of the Greek "τάπης" (tapēs), "carpet, rug".[4] The earliest attested form of the word is the Mycenaean Greek ta-pe-ja, written in Linear B syllabic script.[5]


The success of decorative tapestry can be partially explained by its portability (Le Corbusier once called tapestries "nomadic murals").[6] Kings and noblemen could roll up and transport tapestries from one residence to another. In churches, they could be displayed on special occasions. Tapestries were also draped on the walls of castles for insulation during winter, as well as for decorative display.

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