Samitum

woven silk

Some of the silk is discoloured differently than the rest, the silk around the roundel encircling the senmurvs is lighter than the rest, erhaps this was reated differently? Img 100-4371 between the senmurvs there is a floral pattern the stem of the flower is very faint and there is a break in the twill line between the stem and the backbground, Could there have been embroidery that has deteriorated? Extremely rich cloth, but there does seem to be a threading error in the upper right hand corner.

The Senmurv Silk

This silk was dated to the 7th-8th Century . The silk was found in Iran, but the conservationists contend that it may have been made in Central Asia. The cloth itself is a compound weft faced twill (or samitum) the twill as shown in the photograph above is a S twill. A single repeat of the senmurv design was measured at 15.5 inches  by 13.5 inches. Upon study of this textile there appears to be one single treading error in the cloth, which was a great achievement in a cloth with such a large number of threads. The monochromatic design is a light green on dark green.

Textile Image: 

Shroud from Saint-Sernin

The fragment of the shroud from Saint-Sernin was a silk saumitum cloth woven around the 12th Century by Hispano-Moorish weavers (Musee National du Moyen Age, 2003). The fragment held by the Cluny Museum measured 44 cm by 23 cm. The woven design is that of peacocks facing one another with their tails held up  (Musee National du Moyen Age, 2003).  This cloth closely resemble Sasanian samitums, which often included roundels encircling peacocks and other mythical beasts. 

Gazelles Samitum

A stocking held at the Cluny Museum and attributed to Lucca weavers of the 13th to early 14th Centuries is a silk and gold thread samitum of paired crowned gazelles standing back to back and separated by palmettos  (Musee National du Moyen Age, 2003). This piece is considered a fragment of a liturgical stocking  (Musee National du Moyen Age, 2003).

Eagle Samitum

Number 35 was woven on a cotton ground with wool weft. The cloth depicted two eagles facing each other, suggesting the samitum was woven using a point threading for numerous pattern heddles. The pattern is reversible, which shows great skill of the weaver.This piece measured 19" by 18.5".

Duck Samitum

Number 58 is the least preserved Sassanian textile in Weibel. Much of the wefts have worn away. This samitum is woven in silk and depicts a duck in a circle border. Motifs enclosed in roundels are fairly common design elements in textiles of this period, both Sasanian and Byzantine textiles.

Byzantine Samitum

This samitum cloth dated to the 9th Century is Byzantine. It is one repeat of a large design that likely covered the entire cloth. The repeat of the design measured 75 cm by 725 cm (34” by 329.5”). The design is that of human figures over three horses and enclosed in a roundel  with heart shaped lotus blossoms. The design is woven in yellow on a blue ground. 

Birds Samitum

Number 36 is also woven on cotton ground with wool wefts. Number 36 is not one continuous cloth, but both fragments depicts birds with curved necks. This samitum is reversible. The birds are not exact replicas, which suggests that they are either actually separate textiles, or the motifs were woven in separate parts of the fabric. The birds may be herson and are standing on curled twigs holding palmette branches in theri beaks.The herons are in a large "beaded" roundel.

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