PORTIERE, a hanging placed over a door, as its French name implies, or over the doorless entrance to a room. From the East, where doors are still rare, it came to Europe at a remote date it is known to have been in use in the West in the 14th century, and was probably introduced much earlier. Like so many other domestic plenishings, it reached England by way of France, where it appears to have been originally called rideau de porle. It is still extensively used either as an ornament or as a means of mitigating draughts. It is usually of some heavy material, such as velvet, brocade, or plush, and is often fixed upon a brass arm, moving in a socket with the opening and closing of the door.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)