News and views from a British antique textile dealer who has always sourced the best linens and fabrics from La France Profonde. Now branching out into Vintage Armchairs for Seniors needing comfort and support. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, 23 May 2011
OX-EYES and SHADES
These surprisingly decorative patterned macrame little hangings were specially made to shield the eyes of the oxen from the flies that pestered them. I do not know if these were for special festivals, processions or what, but like so many French textiles they were made for a specific job and made with great skill and care - very fit for purpose! This is the last pair I have - I used to find them in Burgundy and near Bordeaux where the oxen were used for tilling the fields and vineyards. All were different in colour and pattern so I think there may have been an element of competition for the best among the local crochet and netting experts. I have shown the colourful fly sheets with lovely stripes elsewhere which were used to keep the flies off the backs of the animals; and the ox-yokes, heavy chestnut wood sort of brackets to link the oxen pairs together, have often been converted to hanging lights with parchment shades and extra ironwork to hang from the beams of old farmhouses and bars. The huge carts for carrying the hods and barrels now stand unused around the farms, while tractors and trailers cope with the heavy loads - I have not seen a single ox in my recent travels.