Categoria de Coleção: Textile

The Soares dos Reis National Museum’s Textile collection essentially covers the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and may be grouped into three sections: historical, religious and civil.

The historical sections is made up of pieces that have a significance in terms of Porto’s history. The religious section has the most items, consisting of vestments worn by the celebrant at mass and pieces with which churches were adorned. The civil section includes male and female garments, as well as bedspreads and tapestries.

The collection was initially formed from the items confiscated from churches and convents, during the Civil War and the Siege of Porto (1832-1833) when Pedro IV decided to create a museum in the city to store and display this heritage.

Later, with the Republic and the nationalisation of church property, more pieces belonging to the Bishopric of Porto were included.
Later, as a deposit, a diversified set of textiles from the Porto Municipal Museum, which closed in 1937, were added to the collection.

In 1940, the Soares dos Reis National Museum received a large selection of bobbin lace, representing the country’s main producing centres, and collected by Joaquim de Vasconcelos at the end of the 19th century.

In recent years, it has grown through some acquisitions by the State, but mainly through private donations.

Chalice Cloth

Véu de Cálice

17th Century


Green, red, yellow, white natural silk thread; silver strip

Inventory sheet

This cloth was designed to cover the chalice that is the recipient of the Blood of Christ after the Consecration performed during mass, the main Catholic religious ceremony.

It is entirely made on a loom, using silk threads and a silver strip. This piece’s fragile appearance comes from the fact that the thread is very fine, giving it lightness and some transparency.

It has the Cross of Christ in the centre, a symbol associated with the period of great sea voyages and the resulting commercial, cultural, political and religious relations with the peoples of other continents. In this case, the connection is with India, linked to Portugal after Vasco da Gama’s first voyage. For this reason, and despite its obvious simplicity, it has been included in exhibition catalogues alluding to the period of the Discoveries and the mutual artistic influences between Portugal and India.

Arraiolos Carpet

Tapete de Arraiolos

17th century

Wool; linen

Inventory sheet

Attributed to the 17th century, this carpet is considered one of the oldest that have survived to this day.

It has the particularity of presenting the embroidery stitch executed in several directions following the movement of the design, and the decorative motifs outlined in flower stitch foot.

The decoration on the field and the border is markedly different. In the field, the vegetal scrolls stand out; in the border, we see a sequence of flowers and birds, and, in the corners, two-headed eagles.


The technique of the carpets we call “de Arraiolos” consists of embroidery executed with sheep’s wool on a canvas of tow (the coarsest part of linen) or jute. The stitch is cross-stitched, one of the loops being longer.

For a long time, natural dyes were used with wools: red was obtained from Brazil wood and spurge; blue from indigo and yellow from lily-of-the-valley.

Why Arraiolos? Some researchers argue that it was due to the Muslims’ expulsion from Lisbon, in 1498, with the community consequently settling in that Alentejo town. Arraiolos carpet is the result of oriental decorative taste blending with Western embroidery technique.

Matching Skirt and Bodice

Aline Neuville’s studio, Lisbon

19th century (end) or 20th century (early)

Velvet; silk threads; lace; sequins; tulle; silk crepe; silk satin

Inventory sheet

Composed of a skirt and bodice, in black velvet, it is profusely decorated with floral motives, using lace, tulle, sequins and several embroidery stitches.

The skirt has fringes starting from the waist, at the back, which continue into a marked train. The cut-out decorative motifs are highlighted by the light colour of the inner satin.

The bodice is largely covered in lace. It closes at the front and is finished at the neck by a small pearl-coloured crepe frill. The half sleeves may be converted into long sleeves by bringing the two features together through clasps hidden by lace.

The use of different materials and textures create sumptuous gradations of colour and shimmer: it is certainly a ceremonial garment. Given the time when it was made, we can imagine that it was worn by its owner, Sofia Cândida Rooke at official receptions in the then Royal Palace of Porto, where the Soares dos Reis National Museum is today.

It was made by the Aline Neuville studio, one of whose clients was Queen Maria Pia.

Frame Embroidery, Seduction

Bordado de encaixilhar, Sedução

Polychrome silk threads, chenille, hair, coloured glass beads, paper. Silk support.


Polychrome silk threads, swags, hair, colored beads, paper. Silk support.

Inventory sheet

This is a common 19th century piece of work, showing how many women used to occupy their time and their manual ability, at a time when female education fostered this kind of artistic and manual skill.

The term ‘frame embroidery’ arouse because most of them were made for this purpose: protected with glass and a frame.

hey were sometimes intended as gifts, a message of love, friendship or gratitude. This example was based on a lithograph entitled Verführung, a German word meaning ‘seduction’. Particularly interesting are the hands and faces on which cut-outs of the paper print that the author coloured were used.

Reproductions like this one were circulated in fashion and embroidery magazines, for example, and reached the hands of those who reproduced them with needlepoint skill.

The bottom of the piece records who made it and when.

Lady’s Purse


19th century (early)

Sisal, natural colour and polychrome; bamboo

Inventory sheet

The need to carry things with them led men and women, from early times, to create bags and purses for their personal belongings, food, weapons and currency.

Later on, pockets appeared with the same purpose, either as an integral part of clothing or as a detachable complement, hung at the waist.

In the late 18th century, the flowing female costume, without a waist and falling close to the body, led to the handbag. This ‘imperial’ costume was inspired by the fashion of the Roman Empire, then visible in the fresco paintings at the ruins of Pompeii, uncovered by that time. This was also the case with the reticulum, a net bag carried by Roman women. Both items influenced many models.

The ladies’ handbag shown here, despite dating from the early 19th century, reflects this taste.

The bag was done in needlework, forming alternately smooth and lacy vertical bars. The smooth bars are embroidered with bunches of flowers, birds and insects. It has a rigid base, with segments of bamboo placed in a zigzag pattern, suggesting a basket. At the top, there is a frill in bobbin lace at the opening, and it is fastened with strings, finished off with two tassels.



18th century (mid)

silk cetim; silk threads metal
Inventory sheet

A piece of men’s clothing, the vestia was worn over the shirt and under the coat, the latter always being longer and more decorated. Whether they were the same color or different colors, the coat and garment completed each other.

This garment is cinched, closed at the front by golden buttons with relief decoration (of which, unfortunately, there are few left) placed in two parallel rows, with only buttonholes on one side. It has long sleeves, pockets with a flap that partially hides 3 buttons identical to the rest. It is embroidered with silk threads, in cream and green colors, fulfilling a stylized plant-inspired design.

Note that the embroidery, perhaps due to the shine of the support or the silk threads, gives an initial illusion of being golden. However, the golden metallic thread does not take part in this decoration.

This model, with its variants, was in vogue in the 19th century. XVIII, when men’s clothing was designed, just like women’s – and without owing anything to the latter, whether in refinement, luxury, or even extravagance – for a permanent “party”, in accordance with the mentality of the time , and following fashion, dictated mainly by the French court of Versailles.

Skirt and Coat Set

Silk satin (exterior); cotton (interior)

Silk satin (outer); cotton (inner)

Inventory sheet

This set of skirt and jacket, probably winter wear, in green silk, is entirely decorated with geometric and vegetal motifs in relief. The outer fabric was stitched to the inner, with the subsequent filling providing a beautiful quilted effect.

The jacket is cut at the waist, from which hangs a large flap, overlapping the skirt to below the hip. This flap is longer and more rounded at the back.

Hooks close it at the front and the neckline is finished by small green silk ribbons flowing from white lace. The sleeve is double folded, covering the elbow.

The skirt, with a straight cut, is gathered at the waist to loosely cover the inner frame which formed the pannier, typical of 18th century fashion.

There are some models with quilted features, but this one is rare in being entirely so. This characteristic and the decorative motifs remind us of the bedspreads produced in India, which Portugal traded and exported during the 16th and following centuries. However, we cannot assume its Indian origin: similar examples in foreign museums are classified as English.

Uniform of Honorary Colonel of the Hunter Battalion No. 5

Parts of the uniform worn by D. Pedro during the Siege of Porto (1832 – 1833), the most striking episode of the civil war between Liberals (led by D. Pedro) and Absolutists (led by D. Miguel).

In 1822 D. Pedro had proclaimed Brazil’s independence, becoming the first Emperor. However, upon the death of his father, he was acclaimed King of Portugal and, since he had opted for the Brazilian crown, he abdicated and bestowed the Portuguese throne on his daughter Maria, still a child, appointing his brother Miguel as regent.

Miguel was acclaimed King of Portugal, which forced Pedro to abdicate the Brazilian throne and come to defend his daughter’s rights. This led to the Portuguese Civil War.

It was during this period that D. Pedro decided to create a museum to keep the items that had been confiscated during the war. It was this Museu de Pinturas e Estampas (Museum of Paintings and Prints), later named Soares dos Reis, which received, after the death of its founder, the cocked hat, the spyglass, the map holder and the lanyard. Meanwhile, and symbolically, Queen Maria II had already given the city the sword, the dolman jacket, the waistcoat and the cap, which were later incorporated into the Museu Municipal do Porto, pieces on deposit at the Soares dos Reis National Museum.


Italy (?)

18th century (1st half)

White silk llama and gold thread; embroidery: gold thread, polychrome silks and coral beads.

Inventory sheet

This is the garment worn by the priest, in the main Catholic religious celebration: the mass.

Exceptional in its artistic quality and technique, this chasuble is made of silk and golden thread – llama – with vegetal-inspired decoration. It is embroidered with coral beads, polychrome silks and golden thread, with a marked oriental influence.

It belonged to the Porto Episcopal Palace.

Chasubles are thought to have originated in Roman lay clothing, possibly in the paenula, a circular, sleeveless covering that covered the entire body, with only one opening for the head. Since then, they have undergone changes according to the taste of each period and the needs of worship.



India, possibly Cambay, Gujarat

17th century

Cotton; loose silk polychrome threads; lint cotton filling.

Inventory sheet

Godrim is a term taken from the Indian for ‘quilt’. This piece is made of two cotton sheets, embroidered together, with a lint cotton filling giving it relief and greater comfort. The embroidery is predominantly executed in backstitch, with its decoration featuring vegetal motifs, exotic birds, cruciform designs, knights in Portuguese dress and, in the central medallion, a pelican.

Indian textiles, and particularly these godrims, fascinated the Portuguese court when Vasco da Gama presented them on his return from his first voyage. This quickly turned into orders from the wealthy classes, transforming such textiles into objects of luxury and ostentation.

The demand was due to their aesthetic quality and the successful blending of East and West. From the East came the raw material, the technique, the symbolic and decorative features; while from the West came the symbolic Portuguese values (heraldic, for example). They also satisfied various requirements: bed covers, canopies, wall decoration for residences or churches, balcony adornment or bringing more platform comfort on solemn occasions.

These pieces were predominantly produced in Khambhat, in the Gujarat region, and were transported annually in great numbers by the ships of the India Run via Goa, in the then Portuguese State of India.