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Textile fragment

Textile fragment

  • Place of origin:

    Köln (city) (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1450 to 1500 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Woven silk, linen and linen threads wrapped with gilt membrane

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Rectangular piece of gold silk-linen, in a compound weave, with green, white and red foliate rondel design executed in silk, framing a woven blue silk Gothic "M". 1/2 twill, 1 binding, 2 pattern warps, 4 pattern wefts. Warps & bindings in red silk and undyed linen, wefts of silk in red, green, white and blue; gilt membrane on a linen core.

Place of Origin

Köln (city) (probably, made)


ca. 1450 to 1500 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Woven silk, linen and linen threads wrapped with gilt membrane

Object history note

From the Forrer Collection. According to notes made in accession register, this is one of 203 early textiles acquired for £700 in 1899.

Dr. Robert Forrer of Strasburg corresponded frequently with the V&A between 1893 and 1920, offering for sale a wide variety of medieval and Renaissance artefacts, mostly European, including textiles, jewellery, medallions, books, tiles, clocks, furniture, ironwork and miscellaneous items. Many of these items, although not all, were subsequently purchased by the Museum.

Historical significance: Example of 15th century German weaving made for a specific purpose (religious vestment).

Historical context note

This textile is believed to have been part of an orphrey band. These were decorative bands, either embroidered or woven, that were applied to decorate vestments, sometimes concealing seams (Johnstone, p. 13). They often include gold thread and are thought to thake their name from auriphrygia or Phrygian gold (Mayo, p. 161).Wider bands (which would have gone down the centre back and front) often included religious scenes, (i.e., T.31-1936), while narrower ones, such as the ones from which this object came, tended to feature smaller decorative motifs, including, as here, heraldic shields. The motif on the object would have alternated with another device on the rest of the band, possibly a shield or a different design, as illustrated by two other fragments from a German band in the Study Galleries. 7021-1860 has alternating shields, while 8281-1863 has fleur-de-lis alternating with shields.

Pauline Johnstone. High Fashion in the Church. Leeds: Maney, 2002.
Janet Mayo. A History of Ecclesiastical Dress. London: Batsford, 1984.

Descriptive line

Piece of woven band. Köln, Germany. Woven silk, linen and linen threads wrapped with gilt membrane. Fragment of an orphrey or stole.

Production Note

Attribution to Köln/Cologne in original accession register.


Silk (textile); Linen; Membrane



Subjects depicted

Gothic scripts; Stylized flowers; Foliage




Textiles and Fashion Collection

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