As Spain began colonizing the Americas in the 1490s, big changes were also taking place on the Iberian Peninsula, including the end of several centuries of Muslim rule and the banishment of Jews. These red, black, and green silk textile fragments—probably woven after the 1492 fall of Spain’s last Islamic kingdom, the Nasrid dynasty of Granada—suggest the robust palette of Nasrid-style textiles. Abstracted boteh motifs, which inspired today’s paisley pattern, reference the tree of life in Islamic tradition as they frame repeated pairs of lions. Converging between the climbing animals are spiraling tendrils, each topped with a stylized pomegranate (“granada” in Spanish).
Complex silk weaving techniques brought to Spain by Muslim weavers flourished from the 800s into the 1500s, with Moorish weavers producing luxurious lengths for courtly purposes.