Christmas tapestry (antependium), 1501
About the object
Judging by his size, the tapestry could have originally served as antependia. It shows the birth of Christ and bears the date 1501 (MCCCCCI on the barn wall). The image of the kneeling Holy Mother and the newborn baby Jesus surrounded by effulgent light are based on the 14th-century vision of St Birgitta of Sweden. Mary and the shepherds are worshiping the child, while her caring husband Joseph is preparing some soup over a fire. Two people from the East wearing turbans, male and female, are approaching the group; they have been taken from a copper engraving by Albrecht Dürer in 1497 and illustrate how quickly graphic prints circulated during that era.