Woven World: The Creation Tapestry of Girona
“Woven World: The Creation Tapestry of Girona” interrogates the function and meaning of the medieval map. Works of art like the eleventh-century Creation Tapestry of Girona, Spain redefine our modern definition of the word “map.” Medieval artists, like the exegetes of the time, conflated time and space in ways that demanded highly symbolic and allegorical modes of reading and seeing. In the Girona Creation Tapestry, biblical stories, representations of the months, zodiac symbols, and personifications of the winds far outweigh the presence of specific geographical sites. The Creation Tapestry was meant to act as a guide to the viewer—spiritually, morally, and metaphysically. The original placement of the piece in the church is still unknown. However, whether it was on the floor, on a wall, behind the altar, or over the altar as a canopy, this particular tapestry would have been a significant part of the liturgical life of the church, shaping the space and spirituality of the visitors. Through my analysis of the Girona Creation Tapestry and other comparable works of art, I will establish a more complex and fluid definition of the map, especially when compared to the contemporary sense of the word, thereby revealing how maps are and have always been subject to the perception of their creator.