The Pastrana Tapestries of Alfonso V

Portuguese Landing at Asilah


Picture Source: The History Blog
Arrival of the Portuguese Fleet off the Coast of Morocco
Carracks, large sailing ships that transported the Portuguese army to Africa, are clustered at left. Flying from the masts are emblems of Portugal, Alfonso V, and Saint George, Portugalís patron saint. Monkeys have climbed aboard two of the ships, signifying that the events are taking place in Africa. To the right of the carracks, soldiers are being rowed to shore.
Portuguese Soldiers Approach the City of Asilah
Alfonso V and his son Jo„o, wearing patterned silk brocades over their armour, appear twice in the central section of the tapestry: at lower left, riding in a rowboat, and at upper right, marching toward the city. In the waters near the city walls, drowning soldiers slip beneath the waves.
Moroccans Prepare to Defend the City of Asilah
Behind the crenellated walls, the Muslim residents try to defend Asilah with swords, shields, and spears. The Flemish weavers of the tapestry, unfamiliar with North African architecture, depicted a city that resembles one in northern Europe with high-pitched rooves and pointed spires.


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