The word "quilt" is derived from the Latin word culcita, which means a stuffed sack, mattress, or cushion. A quilt is a bedspread or blanket made of two layers that is filled with a material, such as cotton, wool, feathers, or down, and is stitched together, usually in a decorative design.
Historians credit both China and Egypt with the origins of quilting. The earliest reference to quilting is found in an Egyptian ivory carving of a pharaoh wearing a quilted mantle dating from 3400 B.C. Some interpret the mantle depicted in the statue to be a true quilt while others say it depicts a mantle with a woven pattern, but not a quilt.
In the 11th century, the Crusaders, intrigued by the quilted jackets worn by their Arab adversaries to serve as armor, found these quilts to be much lighter and easier to wear in the heat of battle, and more protective than leather underneath their chain mail. When the Crusaders brought these quilted jackets back to Europe, they eventually were adapted to be used as bedding.
The earliest known bed quilt is from the 14th Century in Sicily. Known as the Triastam Quilts, these were originally made for a wedding gift to a pair of Sicily's aristocracy and are so beautiful in design they could have been used as wall hangings.
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| February 21, 2017
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