History? quilt embroidered in yellow silk on two layers of cotton. Composition in columns/rows that develop around a center. At the center is the Justice of Solomon, and the four parts of the world in the central four corners. The first column/row tells the story of Arion. In the second, the works and other tales in the history of Hercules. A third band shows in its corners and in the cenr of the four sides the Judgment of Paris, Tisbe and Priam, Hero and Leandro, Ulisse and Penelope (?), Acteon, Cupid and two unidentified scenes in the corners and center of the four sides. Finally, the typical depiction of the hunts. Fringe and borders of yellow silk.
‘There is a type of Indo-Portuguese quilts in which the composition consists of a series of bands or borders arranged around a central rectangular panel; the historical ornamentation depicts episodes of the Old Testament, Greco-Roman mythology, hunting, sea scenes, and sometimes cotemporary events: usually a border displays vegetable decorations, birds and fantastic beings; In some examples, they have legends in Portuguese, explaining the stories that are narrated in the series of small frames, separated and framed by bands of geometric or floral adornments. ”
Continuing the description of this last example, let us now see the first band of composition where in a series of small framess the adventures of Arion, musician and poet, protagonist of a Greek legend reproduced by Heródoto, are told. According to this legend, Arion boarded a ship carrying his riches and the sailors decided to throw him to the sea to steal it. The poet asks to be allowed to sing before he dies; a dolphin drawn by the softness of his voice comes to save Arion and lead him to the banks of the Laconia. The story begins on the left, below the panel with the depiction of the Asian continent. The poet is sitting by the viola, on the edge of the waters from which the fish’s heads emerge –
“Arion with his song, hold the stream of the river.” Then he sings to the animals and the birds; the wolves and the sheep, the greyhounds and the hares, the gazelles and the lions, the eagles, and the doves join together to hear it. The inhabitants of the fortified cities all leave outside the walls that guard them and defend them from each other, attracted by the melodious voice; and the Moon itself stopped listening to Arion’s song. Now the scenery changes. The poet leaves the leafy tree that served as shelter and leaves for a sea voyage. “Arion leaves for his homeland,” explains the legend. The following frames contain the torments of Arion; the captain wants to kill him, but allows him to sing before throwing himself into the water to his death; at this point the dolphin appears; the missing following frame would represent Arion saved by the fish. Then the story continues and the poet, riding the dolphin, resumes his melodious singing. In the following frame the figure of Arion is followed by gods who “see the dolphin’s great compassion.” Finally, “Jupiter takes the dolphin to Heaven and gives him nine stars in the sky.”
The next band is dedicated to the works and other feats of Hercules. (…) In the five squares of the upper heading, from the left, Hercules fights and kills the lion of Numeia, whose skin he now and always will wear; kills Lerna’s hydra and beats Erimanto’s boar; he seizes the bronze footed doe and ends of gold after pursuing her for a year through the forests of Ménalo, and tames the bull of the island of Crete. Continuing on the side of the border, the first frame represents the hero delivering to Perseus the Queen of the Amazons; it follows a panel in which according to the legend Hercules recovers Argia from the sea and fights with Neptune and marine monsters; then he kills Gérion, the three-headed monster, and Diomedes be devoured by his own horses, and descends to Hell where he locks Cérber to free Theseus. The lower border? shows us Hercules in the gardens of the Hesperides from where he takes the golden aples after killing the dragon that guarded them; fight and defeat the centaurs; free Tesiona, daughter of the king of Troy, from a sea monster that would devour her and supports the sky on his shoulders to relieve the giant Atlas’s burden?.
Here the heroic feats are interrupted and a jocular fable told by Ovid, in which Hercules and Omphale scoffed at a faun. In the first frame, Hercules is with his lady and the faun saw them on the hill and fell in love with her. The fable continues in the side area of the border where the hero is seen eating with his lady and later exchanging clothes with her; the explanatory legend of the second scene reads: “Hercules sleeping the faun touches him deceived by the dress” and finally in the third frame Hercules and Ophale, wearing the exchanged clothes, mock the fallen faun. In the last two frames the thief Caco is seen stealing the flock of Hercules, who then uncovers the cave where Caco had taken refuge; missing the last scene that represents the death of Khakis inside the grave.