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Thanks for visiting ! Please leave me comments, I love to read what you might think about the boutis (which is also known as "Broderie de Marseille"), please share with me what you have seen, what you love, how-tos, good museums to visit, pattern origins, and so on ..... you get the idea !

Monday, December 7, 2009

Symbolism in Boutis

I have been showing a lot of pictures of late, so I thought that, with a nod to the time of year when we think more about traditions, I could discuss a few of the symbols associated with the boutis. The wonderful thing to me about this work is that, in addition to the fine needlework and exquisite finishing that we admire, the pieces had real meaning to their makers. Sometimes we talk about our needlework being cheaper than a therapist, or helping keep us sane, but I think with the boutis a lot of hope was stitched into the work, at least that is my interpretation.

Designs used for marriage "jupons" and "vanes", for example hearts, all kinds of flowers for example cornflowers symbolizing the enchantment of love, fruit like pomegranates, vases and jars, shells meaning hospitality (especially the scallop shells marking the pilgrim trail of St Joseph of Compostela), fans, keys (for power and prosperity) and lyres (divine power, poetry music and harmony). There were often geometric forms such as squares and lozenges, and stars, all of which could be stuffed with smaller geometric shapes. When you look at a boutis, the types of flowers chosen and their individual meanings, as well as other designs (such as ears of wheat signifying wealth) will reveal a lot about the hopes and dreams of the "boutisseuse".

Some flowers and leaves were reserved for the petassons (petassoun), the small presentation boutis for the newborn, which were decorated with acanthus or oak leaves (meaning strength) and acorns, marguerites, dainty daisies (purity) and hydrangeas, sometimes birds. The central motif of the petassons could be a stylized star, with the channels usually running diagonally across the piece, and a scalloped edge richly stuffed. The symbolic designs used in the vanes and jupons will not appear on the petasson.

The examples mentioned are by no means exhaustive, there are many wonderful pieces to study and many more symbols to unlock. Even today, those ladies practising this art in its original home consider that a boutis design has to be considered, mulled over and carefully designed, as it is not a work to be undertaken lightly if one is to truly respect the tradition.


Magia dos bordados said...

Olá Heather! Que prazer esta visitando seu Blog. É muito bonito. Seus trabalhos são bonitos e o de boutis, adorei. Publiquei no meu Blog com todas as identificações. Por favor se não aceitar me avise. Convido a me visitar http://alcastrosantos.blogspot.com
Abraçs, Algecira

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