Extant Textiles

2128-1900 700-1000 possibly Syrian woven silk (damask)

Reference Number: 2128-1900
Date: 700-1000
Culture: Syrian
Technique: Damask

Measurements: 10" tall and. 5" widePalmette 5.25" tall 4.5" wide 
10 warp threads showing in .25" palmette leaf 1" tall

Standing lotus design in upper corners is .6" tall

Sett estimate 40 epi
PPI: require further study to estimate
Notes: purple on light purple background

Museum description “A fragment of damask in bold purple and black. Possibly Syrian or Byzantine, ca. AD700-1000. Z-spun with brown warps. The design includes floral and geometric forms. The remaining form is like a large raspberry or flower bud hanging down. The fabric is badly damaged and the rest of the design is not obvious although there are some geometric lines around the bud that contain fleur-de-lis. The piece may have been hemmed around the edges or has been sewn to something else in the past. A damask is a reversible fabric of silk (also wool, linen or cotton) with a pattern formed from one warp and one weft. The pattern is in a warp-faced, satin weave with the background in weft-faced, sateen weave. Often with large floral designs. Damask was produced in ancient China but took it’s name from Damascus, Syria, where it was produced for European export in the 12th century.”


8th C
9th C
10th C
11th C

946-1877 woven silk damask ca 1550
Date: 1550
Culture: Italy
Technique: Damask
Notes: blue on light blue
Photo reference numbers 170 
26.25 " long 22" wide

16th C
Museum Rereference Number: 

This fragment was found in the shrine of St. Paul. They were removed and exhibited in 1896.This fragment measures 6 x 11 inches. It includes 2 full and one partial beaded roundel encompassing two horses facing each other with rounded encs. The roundels themselves measure 4.5". Between each set of four roundels appears a design of two birds facing each other.The design uses red, green, yellow and violet. 

This piece shows a new variation on the typical roundel style samitums of the earlier periods. Two peacocks face each other with tails raised. The shape of the peacock raised tails is followed by a curved line followed by two bands of script and another outline. between these designs are pairs fo sphinxes.The piece measures 9" square and shows two full across repeats, two repeats vertically and one nearly complete repeat of the design. Weibel called this plain compound cloth, but I have listed it as taquete, which is my interpretation of what Weibel meant by the term plain compound cloth.

This design is of a wavy ivy lozenge (diamond shapes across the fabric) around two ducks which alternately face each other and face away from each other.

The piece uses roundels which do not touch and contain a lotus tree within a palmette frame. The design was done in rose and light yellowish tan. The remaining piece consisted of six nearly complete roundels and measure 13" x 23.75"

Weibel described this piece as plain compound twill, which means my attribution as samitum may be incorrect. Weibel did not clearly define the terms used in this book. he stated the warp was rose-red and wefts were cream, dark green, oliver green, organe and dark red silks. For exact description of this textile see Weibel, or contact me.The piece measured 10 3/8" square.

This is a reversible samitum aldo depciting birds. This design shows a procession of a pigeon, druch, peacock and good in brown and white silks. There is also a landscape in this finely woven samitum.

The design is described as a white background with the trees woven in red wool. Weible specified the design was woven sideways, a technique common in tapestry weaving. Weft faced designs are usually woven on the warp in the manner that allows for the best curves. Curves need the be built up gradually therefore the weaver normally weaves the design on the warp in the way that the most amount of curves are woven vertically on the loom, even if they will appear horizontally on the finished piece.

It is a shame Weibel does not give this piece more attention, the description here is not nearly as robust as most in this book.It is noted there are identical tapestries in the Victoria & Albert Collection and in Dalton, Byzantine Art.The tapestry measures 3.75" square and depictes a horsemean at the center of a scene with fruits and water birds catching fish. The ground is said to be a pale buish green and the desing executed in red and white.



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