Wednesday 29 September 2021

Sperveri, or Bridal bed

Sperveri, from Rhodes, 17-18th c., at the Benaki Museum.

A rare kind of tent which isolated the sleeping platform from the lower sitting area and hid the bridal bed from prying eyes.

This is the best preserved and most spectacular of the few comparable surviving examples from the Dodecanese. One of the reasons why Sperveris did not survive, is that often, women needed fabrics, so  after their weddings were over, they would use parts of the sperveri to make cushions for their house, or a dress for their daughters, etc. 

It's tiny. I always think that beds in National Trust properties look small, but this is super-tiny - at first we thought it was for one child.

Sperveri is also a dance done at a wedding on the island of Rhodes, sung and danced as part of the dressing of the bridal bed.

The polychrome vegetal motifs, flower-vases and peacocks are worked in the Dodecanesian raised stitch. The overall pattern has echoes of Byzantine splendour, and neo-Hellenic aesthetic orientations.


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