The great shower curtain (which I’m now considering prick and pounce for transferring after all… ) is a Victorian variation on the tree of life pattern that became so popular in Renaissance needlework.
No one is really sure whether European needlework influenced middle eastern and Indian woven textiles that were imported, or whether it was the other way around. Like so many things in history, the truth is probably that they influenced each other, and both developed because of it.
Often at the bottom of these designs live lions and lambs in harmony, hunters chasing deer as a symbol of the human journey (no harmony there!) and every other emblem and symbol the Jacobean embroiderer could fit in — these were the people who sewed rebuses into the hems of their dresses, after all! (I’ll look up my reference for that later…. it’s in a book upstairs in the extremely hot studio (the AC still not fixed… we’re getting there, slowly!)
I’m partial to the quiet little plant-ridden hillocks on the bottom of this design. Although I might be tempted to slip in a rabbit (or squirrel) if my husband isn’t watching.