Shawl ca. 1885-1910 The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The piano shawl is an elaborate and beautifully embroidered decorative piece of fabric, usually with long fringe trim, used to drape over the flat surface of a grand piano. Serving to protect the piano from nicks and scratches, they are not generally meant to be worn as they are quite large.
The heavy embroidery and fringe create significant weight to hold the shawl in place and prevent sliding around. They reached their height of popularity during the Victorian Era when a parlor piano was often seen in affluent homes.
Piano shawls are very much sought after pieces, particularly from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Smaller versions were adapted for women to wear - less heavy but just as beautiful. I had a stunning hand knotted one recently which was intricately knotted throughout.
Look at the beautiful knot work...all hand done.