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10:53, 14 December 2017 Thursday
Update: 15:14, 13 June 2017 Tuesday

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Bringing ancient tapestries back to life in Belgium
Bringing ancient tapestries back to life in Belgium

Returning to its former glory the kind of creation that adorns a cathedral wall or is displayed at a world-renowned museum can take more than a year for tapestry restorers at Royal Manufacturers De Wit.

World Bulletin / News Desk

The painstaking job of restoring some of the world's finest ancient tapestries, stitch by stitch, is not for the highly strung or restless.

Tucked away in an elegant medieval monks' residence in Belgium, head restorer Veerle De Wachter and her white-coated, all-female team of 15 labour away with needle and thread, adding thousands of stitches to a single piece.

"Someone who is nervous or excitable would never manage it," she tells AFP, seated in front of a vast wall stacked with bundles of thread, a colourful reminder of the days when the company produced its own tapestries. 

The work calls for a demanding degree of focus, knowledge of fabrics and thoroughness, she adds.

"You need a calm person, who can work in a concentrated manner without being distracted with what's going on around them."

As well as the traditional meticulous craftsmanship, resuscitating the faded scenes and preparing them for the future ravages of time requires modern technology.



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