Tapestry: Portière aux Armes de France
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Woven at the Gobelins Tapestry Manufactory; woven after a cartoon by Pierre-Josse Perrot, designer; woven under the direction of Étienne-Claude Le Blond, workshop director
French, Gobelins, about 1730 - 1740
Silk and wool
11 ft. 10 in. x 8 ft. 9 in.

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The arms of Louis XV, who came to the throne as a five-year-old in 1715, announce this tapestry's royal origin and purpose. Under the head of Apollo, from whom the sun's rays emanate, a large crown tops a simulated bronze cartouche. Within the cartouche, the three fleurs-de-lis symbolize the arms of France, hanging in the center of an ermine cloak flanked by two military trophies. Suspended medals hang below, in front of the crossed scepter and the "hand of justice," symbolizing the king's legal power. A royal ceremonial helmet at the bottom seems to rest upon another military trophy. The tapestry's color and design were new, but its celebratory purpose and the specific imagery harked back to the symbols of Louis XIV from the previous reign.

The Gobelins tapestry manufactory wove twenty-eight examples of this tapestry over a period of about fifteen years. One of these portières decorated the door of a salon at Versailles, others hung in several of the royal châteaux, and French ambassadors used several to decorate their embassies.

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Unfaded back of tapestry
Unfaded back of tapestry