The Peripetasma is a legendary tapestry housed at the Great Library in Ilyrium. The tapestry measures 30 meters by 15 meters (approximately 96 ft x 48 ft) and hangs in the atrium of the Great Library. It is famous not only because of its artistic achievements but of its magical ones as well: it is magicked so that many of the subjects move and interact. Because of its value, it is protected with strong magic to ensure that it can be enjoyed for many generations to come.
OriginsThe creation of the Peripetasma is largely a mystery, which is unusual for a piece that is so important to a country. Council, but the Council has no record of the commission. Additionally, the creator(s) of the tapestry is unclear, although it's likely that only the most powerful witches could have created such a masterpiece. Many academics have sought to find the origin of the tapestry, but its first recorded mention makes it clear that the tapestry had already been extant for some years prior.
Recorded historyThe first mention of the tapestry occurs in a history book from the 1250s; in the short mention, the author claims that even with magic, the tapestry took seven years to complete. The author also describes the tapestry as currently hanging in the Magisteria. As mentioned previously, the author makes it clear the tapestry is already at least several years old, although why the author didn't think to mention its origins is curious; perhaps the author didn't know or, as some academics argue, the origin was so well-known at one time that authors didn't think it necessary to record.
ConstructionThe Peripetasma is actually made up of seven individual panels sewn together to create the massive tapestry. As with some large tapestries, the panels were constructed separately and then sewn together as the final step.
StyleThe tapestry is famous for its style; although it appears to have been created at the same time, the styles differ widely. Unusually, the tapestry seems to reflect several various human tapestry styles; at the time, it's likely that the witches took great inspiration from their human counterparts. Much of the tapestry reflects the style of the Middle Ages, although some of the tapestry is done in the style of ancient Rome. Its eclectic styling is another reason for the Peripetasma's fame.
ContentThere are seven main panels of the Peripetasma.
TextAlong the bottom border of the tapestry is written "Pro omnibus maleficiis huius regionis semper meminerimus," which translates to "For all witches of this country, may we always remember." The rest of the phrase has been removed, and the speculation of what the witches of UBH should remember is lost to history.
- The origin of the tapestry is widely debated. Who commissioned and created it has many theories, but none have been proven correct.
- Most scholars agree that at least one set of panels is missing from the end of the tapestry. Interestingly, the panel (or panels) was cut rather violently from the end, as evidenced by frayed threading and incomplete phrase.
- There are several unidentifiable plants and animals on the tapestry. Whether the animals are extinct or are simply fictional is cause for debate amongst academics.
- The Pars Mortem scene is hotly debated amongst academics. Many witches of the time followed the Old Religion, while this scene seemingly depicts the idea of death from Nova Religio. Whether this was on purpose or simply a symbolic gesture is unclear.
Significancewitches of United Britannia and Hibernia. It is obviously an artistic marvel; not only is the detail extraordinary, but the magic needed to animate the art so precisely is an incredible feat. However, it's not only an artistic achievement but a cultural one as well: it is a symbol that unites all witches of UBH. Because the tapestry includes history, mythology, flora/fauna, and magic, it represents, in many witches' minds, an accurate summation of their culture. In fact, it would be inconceivable to the witches of UBH for a witch to not know, in detail, about this tapestry.
The Peripetasma is one of the supreme artistic achievements of United Britannia and Hibernia. The sheer amount of craftmanship and magic that went into the tapestry's creation is unparalleled. Its enduring survival over the centuries only serves to prove its importance in our country.
--Librarian Sophie Caine in her 1863 book Peripetasma: Art Incarnate