The Rich Portuguese Culture Represented in Traditional Handmade Portuguese Embroidery

What may seem like a simple piece of decorated fabric is, in reality, a summary of a fertile culture that has a million stories to tell, all born from its rich and colorful history.

This is the reason why traditional handmade Portuguese embroidery -one of the most uniquely crafted fabrics in the world – have become highly collectible commodities throughout the years. At first glance, these pieces of Portuguese embroidery may look very simplistic, but they will only appear as such to the untrained eye. For connoisseurs of history, lovers of art, and proponents of culture, these embroidered fabrics represent thousands of years of a nations storied and exotic development process.

Portuguese embroidery, like any other form of art, find inspiration in the events and the social components prevalent in their place of origin. For Portuguese embroideries, such a place is Portugal, or Viana Do Castelo to be exact, a quiet town that has chronicled Portugal’s culture through its world renowned handicrafts.

Located in the north of Portugal, Viana Do Castelo is a quiet town with a population of only 90,000 people. Having been founded in 1253, Viana Do Castelo became one of the major ports of the country in the 16th century. As a port, the town was an active center for trading. Merchants from all over Portugal came to Viana Do Castelo to barter their goods. The people of Viana had few goods to trade for itself, being a quiet town that relied on fishing as its main industry. Hence, its inhabitants have developed a variety of crafting skills – one of them being embroidering.

Throughout the years, Viana Do Castelo became the primary supplier of Portuguese embroidery. The designs of their decorated fabrics are truly unique:

– These Portuguese embroideries bore little of the embellishments that adorn embroideries from other countries. Beads, pearls, sequins and metals are rarely found in decorated fabrics from Portugal. Instead, the sophisticated simplicity of their designs is what stands out. The elaborate work on each piece of Portuguese embroidery is truly a sight to behold.

– As mentioned earlier, Portuguese embroideries are handmade. No two designs will ever be similar. What you will have is guaranteed to be unique.

– Portuguese embroideriy never changed through time. The ones being sold today employed the same creative processes as the ones sold in the 16th century. Portuguese embroideries are, truly, time capsules of culture.

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