Woven Words

A blog by Regal Fabrics

In the Neck of Time – Zarafa

June 21, 2021

Its species unseen on the continent for more than three centuries before the Viceroy of Egypt sent three to European monarchs to improve international relations, the 14 foot tall giraffe later known as “Zarafa” caused quite a stir as it marched through the French countryside towards Paris in 1827. Tens of thousands of citizens came out at each town and city the procession stopped along during the tour. Giraffe-inspired paintings, collectables, and color schemes were prominent throughout France for the 18 years she graced the palatial gardens. In a tongue-in-cheek press release, the giraffe was accused of lèse-majesté – the literal treason of ‘looking down upon a king’. 

Named ‘Zarafa’ 150 years later as a book was published about her life, the word has both the literal meaning ‘charming’ or ‘lovely one’, as well as being a phonetic variant of the Arabic word for giraffe.

In addition to our giraffe skin jacquard R-Hayden introduced in the Fall, new print R-Zarafa is our second ode to the long-necks in recent collections. Other Regal patterns featuring giraffes include R-Taro and R-Nairobi.

Shown below is an 1827 painting of ‘her Highness’, aptly titled: “A Study of the Giraffe given to Charles X by the Viceroy of Egypt”.

** This story first appeared in the May 2021 edition of the Regal Fabrics newsletter – if you haven’t signed up for our monthly newsletter – please do so through this link

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