Damask cowl

Submitted by Jahanara on Fri, 07/30/2021 - 21:23

8 meters 21"

Pattern Notes Rose pattern from Spies 7th C Egyptian pg. 131.

30/2 gemstone silk

36-40 epi

First sample 40 epi in 15 dent reed 2-3-3, see reed substitution chart

Second sample 20 epi reed 2-3-3

177 units of 8

15-20 pattern shafts

8 threads per Patten Shaft

Tie up see notes from Asheden video





189 pattern units @ 8 ends per unit


Winding the Warp about 7 hours

Threading pattern heddles approximately 14 hours

Threading Ground heddles approximately 6-14 hours (The Prisoner of Azkaban...)

Currently 30" wide.

This textile is based on several historical examples; one roman damask from the 1st C, a Syrian damask from the 8th-11th C, and a Sasanid samite textile (for the motifs). This textile was woven to be made into a Sasanid cowl and wrap, based on several Sasanid silverworkds. The motifs were chosen from Sasanid samite to represent the heraldry that I use in the SCA and my membership in the Order of the Rose. As a member of the Order of the Rose, Jahanara would be a member of the Royal family and therefore would primarily wear red and/or purple, thus purple was chosen for this cloth.

The Roman Damask

A piece of a tunic was found in Didymoi, a small Roman fortress in the Eastern Desert in Egypt. Didymoi was on the carvan road leading from Koptos to Berenkie located on the Red Sea Coast. This tunic is one of three damask  fabrics that used damask to weave in a checkerboard pattern. Another such fabric was found in Palmyra, Syria. The piece is noted to be well worn and dated to being thrown out in 81-96 CE. (Cardon ed. Walton Rogers Roman Textile Industry). This tunic fragment shows that damask was being woven well before the Sasanid Period, it's sister textile found in Syria shows that damask weaving was known to Sasanid weavers well before the 7th C. The ground weave of this textile is a 3/1 brocken twill, which informed by choice of 3/1 brocken twill for my own damask woven textile.

The Syrian Damask

I studied the Syrian Damask fabric on one of my trips to the Clothworkers Centre, London. This fragment measured 10" tall by 5" wide. I estimated the sett at 40 epi, the same sett used for this textile. The Syrian Damask is also in purple. This piece is woven with the pattern in warp faced satin and the background in the weft faced sateen. Though the textiles are reversible, so either side can be used as the face. It is common to weave the cloth with the satin pattern side up, as this is facilitated by pulling the cords for each pattern block, rather than pulling the cords for the background blocks.



The lotus motif appears in a more abstract form in one of the Antinoe Samitum silks (held at Le Musee Historique des Tissus in Lyon. The coat itself was found in Egypt but is widely accepted as an import from Sasanid Persia. I noticed in my Here be Wyverns book that the central portion of a larger lotus (from a 16th C carpet) was a slightly more detailed version of the lotus and shares some common elements. As the 8th C Damask I studied at the Clothworkers entre has far more complex designs, I felt it acceptable to go with the more elaborate lotus motif.

Yarn calculations from Weavolution's calculator


Warp length is 113 inches (3.1 yards)

Length to weave each article is:
43 inches (under tension)
40 inches (relaxed)

Width in reed is: 43.2 inches
Number of warp ends: 1571

Total Warp Required: 4870.1 yards (3.8 ozs.) 

Total Weft required is 1936.0 yards (1.5 ozs)
Weft Calculations

Cowl: 30" 2/12 Gemstone Silk 

Total Weft required is 500.0 yards (2.9 ozs)

Short Sasanid robe 3 yards 2/12

Total Weft required is 1950.0 yards (11.1 ozs)

Sasanid wrap: 126" 2/12

Total Weft required is 2100.0 yards (12.0 ozs)

Warp and Weft
30/2 Silk Patrician Warp and Black Weft
Weave Structure
Portfolio Images
Me wearing a purple damask cowl with black lotus and rise motifs
Cover Image
Me wearing a purple damask cowl with black lotus and rise motifs