Extant Textiles

The nature in which the Didymoi textile was excavated allowed for more precise dating to 81-96 AD. This textile was extremely well documented. Rogers et al (2001) presented the following analysis. The fragment included 60.5 cm (24 inches) of warp and 10.4 cm (4 inches) of weft. It included a tapestry woven clavus in purple. The clavus measured 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide and ran the entire length of the warp. The textile analysis stated the warp was an undyed Z-spun wool, sett at 29 to 36 epcm (63 to 79 epi)  in the damask ground weave and 34 epcm (75 epi) in the clavus. The weft was also an undyed Z spun wool, at 54 to 70 ppcm (118 to 154 ppi). The clavus weft was also wool and was woven in half basket weave. The analysis of the purple weft concluded the purple was created using a mixture of woad/indigo and dyer’s madder.  This yarn is extremely fine and was packed to 108-124 ppcm (237 to 273 ppi). The cloth’s ground weave is a block structure of alternating 3/1 damask, or 3/1 broken twill, and 1/3 damask, with alternating Z and S twill directions. This block pattern forms a checkered pattern within the cloth itself. The ends per centimeter in the ground weave varies greatly, from 6 to 22 epcm. Rogers wrote this cloth provided evidence of the use of a horizontal loom with shed rods, as discussed earlier.


The Clothworker’s Centre has also undertaken the conservation of a panel of a burse, cloth container for transporting religious items. This particular piece was last listed as on display in the Victoria and Albert Medieval and Renaissance Gallery. The cloth was made of cut velvet and was also embroidered. The woven cloth was attributed to Italian weavers and the embroidery to English artists. The burse was dated to 1320-1340 AD. The cloth measured 10 inches tall by 11 inches wide the warp was roughly 35 epi. The warp of this velvet appeared to have been a natural color, which would not have been expected to be seen when the cloth was new. Velvet warps must leave room for the weft to be looped over a rod and later cut. Although 35 epi is not particularly fine, it was not surprising for this weave structure. This piece pointed to the use of velvet in England. 

14th C

Now in Brixen Cathedral, Austria

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.

Pattern Unit: 65 cm wide by 82 cm high

Textile fragment: 133 cm wide x 110 cm high

Twill direction: S

This textile is believed to be present by Knut's widow, Queen Ethele to cover his shrine. The cover is still in Knut's shrine in Odense Cathedral, Denmark. The cloth has an Eagle, head facing right in a series of roundel with touch each other. There is another patterned roundel at each point where 2 roundels meet. In the space between roundels is another round patterned figure.

Taquete hunting scene now in the Museum of Decortive Art, CopenhagenBecker notes that these taquete hunting scenes were popular from the 4th-6th Centuries AD. A simlar hunting scene is described in Weibel, Two Thounsand Years of Textiles, which is not included here, because Weibel does not specifiy the technique used.Figures of this taquete are done in undyed wool with a buff coloured background. The border of this textiles has a white pattern on purple background.  This piece measure 26 cm x 48 cm. This taquete is attribute to Egyptian weavers, who are known during this time for using S spun warps. Becker believed this piece was woven with 78 pattern shafts.

4th C
5th C
6th C

This silk is discussed in Becker, who references Lemberg 1973 Pl. 38.

16th C

This pillow was one of 3 found in a burial at Anitone. The original is now housed at the Musuee Historique des Tissus. The pillows were dated to the 3rd C AD from the unique burial methods used (Becker).

Taquete has been found in Roman digs dated to the First Century AD. The First Century textiles are woven using wool warp and weft, whereas Third Century textiles of these structures used silk thread. However, Wild traced these textiles to Syrian workshops  (Wild a, 2003).  Three pillows held in the Gayet Collection in Lyon were found in a Roman-Egyptian cemetery and are woven in taquete (Becker, 1987; Hoskins, 2002). These pillows were found in burials which utilized plaster masks and painted linen, which was not used after the end of the 3rd century AD (Becker, 1987). The pillows have been dated by the unusual burial methods used in the grave, which were not in use after the early 3rd Century AD (Becker,1987).

Becker stated that Egyptian weavers were using S-spun wool yarn in this time period. The pillows’ wool threads are all Z-spun (Becker, 1987). It was therefore concluded these pillows were made of cloth woven in Western Asia, most likely Persia (Becker, 1987). However this textile could be listed as Roman, because it was found in a Roman dig and thus Romans had access to this type of cloth. As textiles are easily transported and a known commodity during this era, it has been far easier to determine which textiles a culture had access to than it has been to prove which weave structures were woven in a particular place.

This pillow was woven on a yellow and beige background. The design elements included blue leaves on a yellow background, and on the beige background red Greek frets, blue waves, and a green ivy motif (Hoskins, 2002). The sett was estimated to be 14-17 epcm (40 epi), the original pattern was woven using a repeat of twenty-seven pattern ends (Becker, 1987; Hoskins, 1992). The textile exhibited more draw in at the edges than at the middle, which Becker suggested as evidence the cloth was woven without a reed. I am not so convinced this is evidence that a reed was not in place as draw in always occurs more so at the selvedges and especially in weft faced weaves. This is the main reason many modern weavers use a variety of devices to prevent this from happening in weft faced weaves. Becker (1992) noted this cloth might have been woven on a horizontal loom with pattern rods or on an early drawloom, it is unclear which technology was used as no date for the existence of the drawloom in Western Asia has been established.

The section below shows my sample based on this pillow. My samples were woven using Hoskins adaptation for 14 pattern harnesses on a drawloom. Hoskins pattern was adapted from the pillow finds in Antinoe. This pattern included fretts, waves, and leaves from the pillow finds. After having woven this on a drawloom, I am questioning whether a simple taquete would likely have been woven using the heddle rod method. The drawloom was likely used for more complicated patterns, such as those of the Senmurv silk of the Sasanid era. However it is my opinion that patterns using less than 20 pattern shafts do not necessarily warrant the complicated set up of a drawloom. Though most re-enactors may not own a loom suitable for this technique with less than 14 pattern shafts available for taquete and 12 pattern shafts for samitum, the use of heddle rods should be feasible wiht this technique. I would advise anyone wishing to recreate such taquetes to use a 16 shaft table loom, if one is available, or make heddle rods for looms available to the weaver.

3rd C


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