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Textile fragment

Textile fragment

  • Place of origin:

    Byzantine (Probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. AD900-1300 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Woven silk

  • Museum number:

    8587-1863

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A rectangular piece of woven silk in compound twill (samite). Probably Byzantine, ca. AD900-1300. Colours of cream and light brown. One one side a diamond is edged on its inner side with a serrated pattern and has an eight petalled flower in the centre. The flower has a central '#' (hash) icon and each petal has an oval dot in the centre. To the side of this motif is a line of small flowers alternating with ovals with central dots (like the petals). More geometric/floral shapes can be seen at the frayed edges of the piece. There is some discolouration.

Samite (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

A rectangular piece of woven silk in compound twill (samite). Colours of cream and light brown. One one side a diamond is edged on its inner side with a serrated pattern and has an eight petalled flower in the centre. The flower has a central '#' (hash) icon and each petal has an oval dot in the centre. To the side of this motif is a line of small flowers alternating with ovals with central dots (like the petals). More geometric/floral shapes can be seen at the frayed edges of the piece. There is some discolouration.

Place of Origin

Byzantine (Probably, made)

Date

ca. AD900-1300 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Woven silk

Dimensions

Width: 101 mm, Height: 53 mm

Descriptive line

Woven silk in compound twill. Probably Byzantine, ca. AD900-1300. Floral and geometric design.

Materials

Silk

Techniques

Weaving; Dyeing

Categories

Archaeology; Textiles

Collection

Middle East Section

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