A very large embroidered silk piano shawl or Manila shawl. The cream silk ground is elaborately hand-embroidered on both sides with blue silks in a floral design, and is edged with a knotted silk border and thick, heavy fringe
A very large embroidered silk piano shawl or Manila shawl. The cream silk ground is elaborately hand-embroidered on both sides with blue silks in a floral design, and is edged with a knotted silk border and thick, heavy fringe

A very large embroidered silk piano shawl or Manila shawl. The cream silk ground is elaborately hand-embroidered on both sides with blue silks in a floral design, and is edged with a knotted silk border and thick, heavy fringe

Total dimensions including fringe 2400 × 2360 mm; embroidered panel 1580 × 1530 mm.

The Manila shawl originated in China, but became popular in Spain and its colonies (exported via Manila, hence the name), before making its way into European fashion more broadly in the early nineteenth century. It saw a revival in the 1920s; this example is most likely from this period and of Spanish manufacture. The shawl was worn folded diagonally to form a triangle, and was often draped on furniture, hence the common English name.

A portrait painting by Ingrid Erns, of Lady Mawson wearing this shawl, is now held by the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.

Provenance: Lady Paquita Mawson; by descent.

Item #114991