opus anglicanum

World English Dictionary
opus anglicanum (ˈəʊpəs æŋɡlɪˈkɑːnəm)
 
n
fine embroidery, esp of church vestments, produced in England c.1200--c.1350; characterized by the rich materials used, esp silver gilt thread
 
[Latin: English work]

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Encyclopedia Britannica
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opus anglicanum

(Latin: "English work"), embroidery done in England between about 1100 and about 1350 and of a standard unsurpassed anywhere. The technical skill that was shown by English workers in handling gold-i.e., silver gilt thread-was unequaled. Gold was used in large expanses as background for figures that were embroidered in coloured silks. Another characteristic of opus anglicanum was the general vivacity of expression and pose in the figure modeling of features-the use of split stitches worked spirally, for example, to suggest rotund cheeks and black, popping eyes. Minutely observed birds and animals, clearly based on contemporary animal drawings, figured largely in the decorative schemes.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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