The Forgotten Art of Bullion Embroidery

Adam Blawat of Benedicamus in Poland has shared with us these images of works from their studio, fashioned in gold bullion metal thread.  Indeed, this is a very rare sight today.  I have seen some contemporary work like this in not too many other places.  Examples are sometimes seen coming from India, evidenced in some militaria and scouting decorations. It is a rare and most welcome sight.  

From the website of Benedicamus:
"We make applications from a metal thread on any smooth or patterned fabric, combining a matte and glossy thread. We also use metal sequins. Most often we use gold and silver, but we also have other colors. This makes it possible, for example, to make colorful coats-of-arms and other colorful representations. Our products often or simply continue the classic sacred design of the past centuries. In addition to the presented products, we will undertake the implementation of any application of any size."

Bullion is made from very fine wires that are wound into a tubular shape.  There are different kinds.    This is similar to cannetille, a spirally twisted thread of gold or sliver.  It is applied in embroidery and military braid, sometimes seen in coat-of-arms sewn on vestments. 

There are four main forms of bullion:

1. Bright check bullion, which has a faceted (zig-zag) and very shiny surface.
2. Wire bullion, which has a smooth surface and is matt in appearance.
3. Bright bullion, which is a form of bullion that has a smooth surface and is shiny in appearance.

This sort of metal thread was commonly used for European military and diplomatic uniforms, especially on the front of jackets and on the epaulets as a form of passementerie or decorative trimming.  It adds a nice touch to vestments.

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