|Embroidered tangerine design dating back to the 12th century|
|The two halves joined|
|One method used to dry tangerines while preserving their shape - sand packing|
In the dead of winter, with scant light from flickering candles, those who lived deep in the forest fought despair by taking up the meditative practice of embroidering tangerines and oranges. As they stitched the citrus skin, the essential oils of the fruit were released, filling the room with the scent. Modern research indicates they instinctively stumbled on a strategy that is based in scientific fact. Studies have shown (http://www.prevention.com/health/emotional-health/scent-citrus-shown-reduce-stress) that the scent of oranges is effective in fighting off anxiety, stress, and depression.
|"Blood of winter" design|
|Stitched "hinge" joins the two halves|
Once completed, the embroidered oranges and tangerines were packed with moss or dry soil in order to assure the peel retained its shape while drying. Once dried, the resulting beautifully embroidered casings were tucked in nooks and crannies around the house as an offering to friendly spirits in hopes they would make themselves hidden nests for the winter, forming cozy beds from the interior stitching. These friendly spirits could do battle with evil spirits and dark moods, so the more of them you could lure into your home, the better.
|Celestial pattern based on design circa 14th century (note star taking advantage of bark-like discoloration in fruit)|
|Close-up of top|
|Two halves joined|
|Interior stitching (spirit nest)|
|A sense of scale: size of finished embroidered tangerine|