The Pastrana Tapestries of Alfonso V

(Conquista de Arcila y Tánger por Affonso V de Portugal)

Click on parts of an image for a larger detail.

Portuguese Landing at Asilah.    larger image
Detail of left Detail of centre bottom Detail of centre top Detail of right


Portuguese Siege of Asilah    larger image
Detail of centre Detail of bombard Detail of right


Portuguese Assault on Asilah    larger image
Detail of left Detail of right Detail of bottom right



Portuguese Conquest of Tangier    larger image    zoomable image
Detail of commander Detail of left Detail of centre Detail of right Detail of far right

In the late 1400s a set of four tapestries was created to commemorate the exploits of Alfonso V (1432 – 1481), king of Portugal, in North Africa. Probably commissioned by the king himself, the tapestries were woven on a monumental scale by Flemish weavers in Tournai, Belgium. They have been the property of the Collegiate Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Pastrana, Spain, since the seventeenth century. The tapestries represent Alfonso’s campaigns in Morocco where his troops won major victories in 1471 at the coastal cities of Asilah and Tangier, strategically located near the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. Narrative scenes of heroic deeds were a popular subject for tapestries of the time, but most depict events taken from mythology or ancient and biblical history. The Pastrana Tapestries are highly unusual for their portrayal of contemporary events.
Source: National Gallery of Art, Washington
Other photograph sources:
The History Blog
Iolanda Andrade
flandesenhispania.org
nobomagazine.com
BLAKE GOPNIK on art


Other resources:
Warfare and Firearms in Fifteenth Century Morocco, 1400-1492 By Weston F. Cook Jr.
Spanish & Moorish Soldiers in Conquest of Oran, 1509, painted by Juan de Borgoña, 1514
The 1535 Attack on La Goleta by Charles V from the 1744 copies of the 'Conquest of Tunis' Tapestries.
Portuguese soldiers in The Archbishop panel, altar from Saint Vincent de Fora, c.1470
Other Illustrations of Spanish, Portuguese & North African Costume & Soldiers
Other 15th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers
Index of Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers