Tapestry Manufacturer De Wit - Mechelen ©Milo-Profi

Flanders has a rich tradition of tapestry making. It all started in the 13th century, and is still part of our cultural heritage today. Learn more about its history, discover what makes Flemish tapestries unique and browse through the online library and database.

Woman weaving a taprestry - Manufacturer De Wit - ©Layla Aerts

Most of the tapestries have religious, mythological and historical subjects as well as hunting and harvest scenes. They are known for their high quality and extended use of colours. The oldest ones were made in the 13th century. The most important production centres were Doornik and Arras. These two centres got a lot of assignments of the Dukes of Burgundy. In the 14th century tapestries were also made in Bruges, Oudenaarde and Ghent. In the 16th century Brussels and Antwerp became important. Antwerp was also the distribution centre for the rest of Europe. In the 17th century the popularity faded and in the 18th century the making of tapestries in Flanders stopped.

Tapestries Manufacturer De Wit - Mechelen © Milo-Profi
On old tapestries, we can see signs which refer to the production centres and makers. These makers were organised in guilds. The makers of the cartons were sometimes very known artists as Rubens and Rafal. Other important weavers were Pieter van Aelst, Peter de Pannemaker and Frank Geubels. The quality varies form two to ten knots per square meter.

Flemish tapestries online

On the website of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage you can find almost every Flemish carpet by using the parameters of the online photo library and database. Some of these carpets are owned by private owners and are not displayed to the public.
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