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Not currently on display at the V&A

Band

1150-1200 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This embroidered silk band is cut at all four edges, so its original form is uncertain, but bands like it were typically used as decoration for church vestments. The embroidery follows a design of roundels with different creatures alternating with lozenges intertwined with floral motifs. These creatures include a bird which may be a peacock, two bears back to back, a dog or cat, and a lion or leopard. They have details highlighted in a range of colours of silk, now mostly worn from the surface but which retain some of their vividness on the back of the band.
The band was said by its vendor to have come from Halberstadt Cathedral and it was long believed to be Southern Italian or German. However, both the embroidery technique and the design of circular forms or foliage with animal figures may point towards an English origin.



object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Red silk twill embroidered with gold thread and coloured silk in underside couching, split stitch and stem stitch.
Brief Description
Red silk band embroidered with silk and gold thread, animals in roundels alternating with lozenges intertwined with floral motifs, 1150-1200, English (?).
Physical Description
Embroidered silk band cut at all four edges. The embroidery, mostly worked with gold thread in underside couching, follows a design of roundels with animals alternating with lozenges intertwined with floral motifs. A narrow gold border along the upper and lower edges frames the pattern. The animals (a peacock (?), two bears back to back, a dog or cat, and a lion or leopard) and petals have details highlighted in a range of colours of silk in split and stem stitch, now mostly worn from the surface.
Dimensions
  • Maximum height: 29cm
  • Maximum width: 22.5cm
Object history
Purchased from Franz Bock, said by him to be part of a mitre in the Cathedral of Halberstadt, although recent scholarship has discounted this possibility (see Wetter 2012, cat. no. 2). fThe piece was long believed to be Southern Italian or German. However, both the technique of underside couching and the design of circular forms or foliage with animal figures may point towards an English origin. Closely related to a piece in the Abegg-Stiftung, Switzerland (Inv. Nr. 216).
Historical context
Since the band is cut at all four edges, its original form is uncertain, but pieces like this were typically used as decoration for vestments.
Summary
This embroidered silk band is cut at all four edges, so its original form is uncertain, but bands like it were typically used as decoration for church vestments. The embroidery follows a design of roundels with different creatures alternating with lozenges intertwined with floral motifs. These creatures include a bird which may be a peacock, two bears back to back, a dog or cat, and a lion or leopard. They have details highlighted in a range of colours of silk, now mostly worn from the surface but which retain some of their vividness on the back of the band.

The band was said by its vendor to have come from Halberstadt Cathedral and it was long believed to be Southern Italian or German. However, both the embroidery technique and the design of circular forms or foliage with animal figures may point towards an English origin.



Bibliographic References
  • Wetter, Evelin. Mittelalterliche Textilien um 1500; Stickerei bis um 1500 und figürlich gewebte Borten. Die Textilsammlung der Abegg-Stiftung Band 6. Riggisberg: Abegg-Stiftung 2012, pp.47-51.
  • Browne, Clare; Davies, Glyn; Michael, M.A., English Medieval Embroidery: Opus Anglicanum, exhibition catalogue, London, Victoria and Albert Museum (London, 2016) pp.115-117
Collection
Accession Number
8237-1863

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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