The Middle ages saw the  creation of extraordinary works of textile art both for the Church and for secular use.  The greatest artists were engaged for design and the most accomplished professional workshops were employed to execute the commissions in what was a highly competitive environment.  The use of metallic thread reached a highpoint in this period.

From altar frontals to vestments, bookcovers to bed hangings,horse covers and throne hangings or cloths of state.  Few secular pieces survive but numerous masterpieces are conserved in museums and treasuries with occasional works still in private ownership.