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Textile fragments

Textile fragments

  • Place of origin:

    Byzantine (Possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. AD700-1000 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Woven silk

  • Museum number:

    T.93-1937

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Two fragments of woven silk/samite thought to come from a church in the Rhineland. Possibly Byzantine, ca. AD700-1000. Colours are buff and light brown. The imagery is of two lions back-to-back, with heads turned to face each other. The piece has been torn in half and the figure that would have stood between the lions is missing. All that remains is an upraised arm on each piece, palms facing upwards. Perhaps it represents Daniel in the lions den. There is an eight pointed star on either side of each arm. One piece has an architectural column (Corinthian) at the edge. One the other piece some of the cloak worn by the missing figure can be seen draped over the arm. The pieces are stained and with some rips and holes.

Samite (twill woven silk) was thought to originate from Persia under Sassanian rule (AD224-651). It was commonly decorated with pairs of animals and birds and set in pearled lotus roundels. It is often found in Western burials, within church possessions and along the Silk Road. Byzantine weaving workshops took on the samite technique to make it an essential weave of the period. It was a luxury textile of the Middle Ages brought to Europe when the Crusades opened up direct contact with the East. It was forbidden to the middle classes of France under the sumptuary rules c. 1470.

Physical description

Two fragments of woven silk/samite thought to come from a church in the Rhineland. Colours are buff and light brown. The imagery is of two lions back-to-back, with heads turned to face each other. The piece has been torn in half and the figure that would have stood between the lions is missing. All that remains is an upraised arm on each piece, palms facing upwards. Perhaps it represents Daniel in the lions den. There is an eight pointed star on either side of each arm. One piece has an architectural column (Corinthian) at the edge. One the other piece some of the cloak worn by the missing figure can be seen draped over the arm. The pieces are stained and with some rips and holes.

Place of Origin

Byzantine (Possibly, made)

Date

ca. AD700-1000 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Woven silk

Dimensions

Height: 187 mm Piece 1, Width: 85 mm Piece 1, Height: 187 mm Piece 2, width: 104 mm Piece 2

Object history note

Purchased from H Burg, formerly in the Kunstgewerbemuseum at Dusseldorf and originally part of the Bock collection. Stated to be from a reliquary in a Rhenish Church.

Descriptive line

Two samite fragments, possibly Byzantine, ca. AD700-1000. Possibly Daniel in the lions den.

Labels and date

SILK and SILK MIXTURE FRAGMENTS
1\2 weft-faced compound twill (except 2190-1900 in 2\1 warp-faced compound twill). Warp / silk, proportion 1 main to 1 binding ( but 336-1887 has warp of \ linen/ plied and 2190-1900 warp in silk of 2 colours; 1 pick of each in turn (336-1887 and 2098-1900 has weft of blue \ plied linen). Vertical axis of pattern at right angles to warp (except 2098-1900, 2201c-1900 and T. 93-1937). Apart from the fragmentary silk depicting David in the lions' den (T.93-1937) which comes from a church in the Rhineland, all are from unrecorded sites in Egypt. []

Materials

Silk

Techniques

Weaving

Categories

Textiles; Archaeology

Collection

Middle East Section

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