Pressed brocade (Pressbrokat)

Pressed brocade (Pressbrokat)

This technique was used to create an impression of expensive silk-brocade fabric on the dresses of sculptures or the paintings of shrines. For making a pattern of brocade, a form of metal, wood or stone was used, on which the desired pattern was engraved or cut. This was a negative mould into which tin foil was hammered through wet oakum smoothly fitted into the hollows. Warm wax or wax resin-based paste was then applied to the surface. This resulted in a pattern which was gilded and painted and then roundly cut with the foil.

Pressed brocade patterns were created by pressing the wax-resin paste directly into the negative mould. Few of these variations have survived because the wax-resin paste was much more fragile than moulds made using the tin-foil method.

(Tilman Riemenschneider: Virgin and Child, inv. no.: 5898)