The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change

is a research museum of the Leibniz Association

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The Brazilian fauna and flora on tapestries



Quick facts

Project title: 
Tenture des Indes
ZFMK Project lead: 



The Brazilian fauna and flora on tapestries


Dr. Katharina Schmidt-Loske takes part as a publisher and author in a research project regarding the Brazilian wall tapestry series: Tenture des Indes. The tapestries were woven in the 17th century after a suggestion of Johan Mauritz, count and later Prince of Nassau-Siegen, who was governor of the Dutch West India Company (WIC) in North-East-Brazil from 1637-1644. He assigned scholars and artists to document the geography, flora and fauna. Because of that, hundreds of drawings with oil and chalk were crafted, as well as the first research based natural history for that part of South America (Historia naturalis Brasiliae, 1648) by Georg Markgraf and Willem Piso. These drawings are known as Libri Picturati and they can be found in the “Biblioteka Jagiellonska” at Cracow. From this resource, as well as his own ideas Albert Eckhout crafted the weaving templates for the Tenture des Indes tapestries.

A research team of three women were examining the tapestries and archived material in different places. A number of individual pieces are in France and Brazil. These sources serve as a vital base for art historians and scientists of other disciplines to interpret the tapestry series. Dr. Katharina Schmidt-Loske determined and commented on as much as 224 animal images that the eight tapestries feature. Interdisciplinary cooperation functioned as the basic principle for the development of a reference book, which was finished in 2015 and published by Deutscher Kunstverlag 2016.


Contact person

Head of Biohistoricum
+49 228 9122-269
+49 228 9122-212
K.Schmidt-Loske [at]