The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), at its meeting of the Executive Board of the Register on 18 May 2023, inscribed the Apocalypse Wall Hanging on the Memory of the World International Register, which includes some 500 documentary heritage elements, including 13 French documents[1], of international interest and outstanding universal value.

Created in the 1380s for Duke Louis I of Anjou, son of King John the Good, the Apocalypse drape is the largest and oldest preserved tapestry in the world: 67 tapestries unfold over 104 meters in length. Approximately 500 m² remains of its original 840 m².

It represents the Apocalypse of John, the last book of the Bible, and interprets the story by anchoring it deeply in its time, the 14th century. A jewel of Western medieval art, this tapestry of lice made of wool, with a very fine weave, also constitutes a true giant woven manuscript. Exhibited at major public ceremonies, it presents itself as the prototype of a new medium at the service of the affirmation of the political ambitions of a prince, its sponsor, brother of King Charles V.

Bequeathed to Saint-Maurice d'Angers Cathedral by King René in 1474, it became the jewel in the crown. Classified as a historical monument in 1902, property of the State since 1905, it is placed under the responsibility of the regional direction of cultural affairs (DRAC) of the Pays de la Loire.

Since 1952 and an agreement signed between the Bishop of Angers and the State, it is presented permanently in the gallery built to accommodate it at the Castle of Angers, managed by the Centre of National Monuments (CMN). However, it remains dedicated to worship, as does the entire treasure of the cathedral.

This inscription will strengthen the notoriety of the work and ensure universal access to this outstanding heritage.

Rima Abdul Malak wishes to salute the partnership work carried out between the city of Angers, who brought the case to UNESCO, the DRAC of the Pays de la Loire, which is at the origin of an experimental protocol of conservation of the tapestry and has contributed its scientific support to the portage of the candidacy, the CMN, which works to the valorization of the property, and the Bishop of Angers, which has made it possible for the file to be brought to the register Memory of the World.

This recognition allows the Apocalypse Wall Hanging to join the embroidery of Bayeux, another great medieval textile work preserved in France, Memory of the World since 2007.


[1]Declaration of Human and Citizen Rights (2003), appeal of 18 June 1940 (2005), films Lumière (2005), establishment of the decimal metric system (2005), Bibliotheca Corviniana (2005), Bayeux-Broderie tapestry known as Queen Mathilde (2007), Clairvaux Abbey Library (2009), Beatus Rhenanus Library (2011), Paris Châtelet banner registry from the reign of François I (2011), Louis Pasteur Archives (2015), Albi Mappa Mundi (2015), Emile Reynaud’s luminous pantomime shows (2015), Archives of Father Castor (2017)