Antique tapestries are valuable and timeless works of art that tell epic tales of long ago. They add warmth and color to any living space and can be extremely fragile and valuable. Some are even considered priceless.

If you want to add beauty to your home with these decorative wall hangings for the years to come, it’s important to handle them with great care.

c.1950 Vintage French Jean Lurçat Tapestry

Hanging your Tapestries

Most tapestries already come with a rod pocket or loops, allowing them to hang like a curtain. Others, however, in many cases they come unfinished and without a rod pocket. Consider asking for help from the tapestry company you got it from. They may custom fit your tapestry to make it suitable for hanging. A textile conservator can also help determine the best way of mounting it to the wall without compromising the appearance.

Cleaning your Antique Tapestry Properly

Remove all jewelry first before handling the tapestry. Jewelry may cause an irreparable tear. With a soft-bristled brush, dust the tapestry to remove any dust or debris. Be sure to do this gently as too much pressure could lead to tearing the fabric.

Vacuum the front and back of the tapestry with an upholstery attachment to remove debris from the textile’s fibers. Generally, you should vacuum your tapestry twice a year except in dusty homes or those with pets. In those cases the tapestry should be vacuumed twice a month.

If your tapestry becomes soiled, never attempt to blot it with water or with any cleaning agent. Tapestries, especially antique ones, are very fragile – even to water. To clean the stain, bring it to a textile conservator.

You should never attempt to repair an antique tapestry at home as it could cause irreversible damage that can decrease its value.

How to Store your Tapestry

For maximum preservation, maintain your tapestry in a temperature-controlled environment. It should be in a container with ventilation but not open to allow dirt and dust to settle in. To prevent threads from rubbing against each other, fold the tapestry with a piece of white tissue paper. Of course, don’t store it in a place with sharp edges to avoid damaging the thread.

These tips will keep your antique tapestries beautiful for generations to come.

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