17th-century Dutch shipwreck yields fragments of a lavish carpet

Fragments of a carpet made with silk and wool were recovered from a shipwreck dubbed the Palmwood Wreck buried at the bottom of the sea for nearly 400 years.

Fragments of the carpet from the shipwreck (by Netherlands Institute for Art History & Vicky Foster)

The 17th century ship from which the carpet was rescued, is called the Palmwood Wreck. It sunk around Texel Island in the Wadden Sea, possibly on its route to Amsterdam. The wreck was covered in sand, resulting in unusually good preservation. The carpet is made from silk and wool, and is decorated with flowers and animals, including lions. Art historians state that it was likely manufactured in Lahore, in present-day Pakistan, during the second quarter of the 17th century, based on the patterns, colours and weaving techniques. Other finds from the ship also include crates that likely once contained incense or myrrh a a lice comb, Italian pottery, a beaded handbag and an intricately decorated “scent ball”, worn around the neck to diffuse the smell of herbs or flowers, leather covers of books bearing the coat of arms of the English King Charles I, and lavish wardrobe, including a complete silk gown, linked to Scottish lady-in-waiting Jean Kerr, Countess of Roxburghe, the confidante of the Queen Consort of England, Henrietta Maria.

(after Live Science, Netherlands Institute for Art History & Vicky Foster)

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