Having made a brief study of form and color in the textile art, I shall now present the great group or family of phenomena whose exclusive office is that of enhancing beauty. It will be necessary, however, to present, besides those features of the art properly expressive of the esthetic culture of the race, all those phenomena that, being present in the art without man's volition, tend to suggest decorative conceptions and give shape to them. I shall show how the latter class of features arise as a necessity of the art, how they gradually come into notice and are seized upon by the esthetic faculty, and how under its guidance they assist in the development of a system of ornament of world wide application.

For convenience of treatment esthetic phenomena may be classed as relieved and flat. Figures or patterns of a relievo nature arise during construction as a result of the intersections and other more complex relations—the bindings—of the warp and woof or of inserted or applied elements. Flat or surface features are manifested in color, either in unison with or independent of the relieved details. Such is the nature of the textile art that in its ordinary practice certain combinations of both classes of features go on as a necessity of the art and wholly without reference to the desire of the artist or to the effect of resultant patterns upon the eye. The character of such figures depends upon the kind of construction and upon the accidental association of natural colors in construction.

At some period of the practice of the art these peculiar, adventitious surface characters began to attract attention and to be cherished for the pleasure they gave; what were at first adventitious features now took on functions peculiar to themselves, for they were found to gratify desires distinct from those cravings that arise directly from physical wants.

It is not to be supposed for a moment that the inception of esthetic notions dates from this association of ideas of beauty with textile characters. Long before textile objects of a high class were made, ideas of an esthetic nature had been entertained by the mind, as, for example, in connection with personal adornment. The skin had been painted, pendants placed about the neck, and bright feathers set in the hair to enhance attractiveness, and it is not difficult to conceive of the transfer of such ideas from purely personal associations to the embellishment of articles intimately associated with the person. No matter, however, what the period or manner of the association of such ideas with the textile art, that association may be taken as the datum point in the development of a great system of decoration whose distinguishing characters are the result of the geometric textile construction.

In amplifying this subject I find it convenient to treat separately the two classes of decorative phenomena—the relieved and the flat—notwithstanding the fact that they are for the most part intimately associated and act together in the accomplishment of a common end.