The Lucca tradition of weaving dates back to ancient times.
The oldest finds were made of silk, with designs of attacking panthers surrounded by “wheels” or “orbs” dating back to 1200, the Golden Era of textile works and commerce.
However, the splendor has resounded through time to the extent that the hand looms, ancestors of the Jacquard looms, were still in use at the beginning of the 20th Century.
In the first half of the 1900s, an ancient custom, once law, was still respected: the hand looms, used to weave noble fabrics such as satin, damask and silk brocade, were worked inside city walls; while wool, hemp and linen were wove only outside city walls (foris portam) on heddle looms, producing common textiles used for dowry and clothing.
Over the years all weaving was moved inside city walls; and a special school was instituted to teach the ancient art.
The school remained active until about 10 years ago.
THE LEGACY TODAY
The Mansi Palace National Museum preserves ancient looms with all their work accessories. Here some weavers, with passion and skill, have slowly started them once again and instituted the “Tessiture Lucchesi” (Luccan Weaving) Association, born to continue these traditions. Their purpose is to restore and care for the remaining looms, and to rediscover the ancient weaving designs found in the area thanks to patient and painstaking research. Here the floss-silk, the Luccan chequered pattern and the Barga rose pattern are still manufactured. Weavings in almond pattern as well as rose thorn pattern, stars and roses pattern and cavaliers cross pattern are brought to life, to the delight of devotees and the amazement of laymen.
The Mansi Palace opens its doors to visitors every day from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm.
Weavers are present Tuesdays from 2 to 6 pm and Thursday 10 am to 2 pm.
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