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Romantic English

Shepherd and Shepherdesses RE301431

Shepherd and Shepherdesses RE301431

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Shepherds and Shepherdesses: A Playful Rendition

Hailing from the South Netherlands, circa 1500–1530, this intriguing tapestry captures a whimsical scene among shepherds and shepherdesses. In the tapestry, a spirited game unfolds: two shepherdesses are seen engaging in the game of la main chaude. This traditional amusement involves blindfolding and playfully spanking a participant, who must then guess the identity of his assailant.

The depicted episode is a creative twist on a similar composition found in a tapestry at the Victoria and Albert Museum (inventory number 5668-1859). The characters in this tapestry from the Metropolitan Museum of Art are arranged as mirror images to those in the Victoria and Albert scene, showcasing a lively chase. Notable differences can be seen in their attire, the backdrop of the landscape, and the overall arrangement of the narrative, which suggests that the Met tapestry may have originally been part of a series of hangings.

This tapestry exemplifies a common practice in Netherlandish artistry, where original tapestry cartoons were frequently adapted, excerpted, and modified to produce various interpretations of favored motifs. This playful and dynamic rendering brings a vibrant glimpse into the cultural pastimes of the era.

Shepherd and Shepherdesses RE301431

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