Advent calendar December 4 2019

The fourth advent calendar post is a collection of things, all found in Nyköping, Sweden. And they are all dated to 13-15th century,

The flat spindle whols are something called Marleka in Swedish. The Marleka is a concretion and that type is very unique for Nyköping. It is a hard, compact mass of matter formed by the precipitation of mineral cement within the spaces between particles, and is found in sedimentary rock or soil. The medieval craft person just drilled a hole in the middle of it, and got a perfect spindle whorl.

The scissor is made by a highly skilled black smith. It still looks like it could cut some fabric.

The bone needle is quite large and is probably for nålbinding.

The wool fabric is of very high quality and have many threads per cm. The reddish fabric on the left was probably dyed with madder. Madder dyed fabrics seems to stay red even after 600+ years in the ground.

All items can be found in the collection of Sörmlands museum and are exhibit in the medieval exhibition at Nyköpingshus / Nyköping castle. 

/ Amica and Maria
If sharing photos- please cred us at Historical Textiles

Advent calendar December 3 2019

The third post in our advent calendar is a small spindle whorl from the city of Sigtuna, Sweden.

It’s made from a femoral head. The shape have been adjusted from the original shape and the whorl have now a cone shape. That shape is not so common with the whorls made out of femoral heads. So someone put some effort into this piece.

Right now we not 100% certain on the dating. But roughly it’s the same age as the other finds from Sigtuna. Approx. late 10th century – early 14th. Will update when we have the correct info.

Today it can be found in the collections of Sigtuna museum.
/ Amica and Maria

Advent calendar December 2 2019

The second post in our advent calendar is a distaff found in Nyköping, Sweden.
Distaffs are rarely labeled as “distaffs” in the museum data bases. So is also the case with this one. The are often labeled as “wood fragment”. We understand if it’s difficult to tell one wood fragment from another, but the notch usually give them away.
This one is dated to 13-15th century.
It is broken and today it’s approx. 30cm long. The thickness is approx. 15-18mm wide.

Today it can be found in the collections of Sörmlands museum.

/ Amica and Maria

Advent calendar December 1 2019

This years first calendar post is some lovely scissors and timbles from the medieval city of Nyköping, Sweden.

They are all found in the centre of the medieval city and are dated 13th-15th century.

Today the scissors can be found in the collection of Sörmlands museum and are exhibit in the medieval exhibition at Nyköpingshus / Nyköping castle. The castle have a very interesting history. Check it up if you wanna know where George R.R Martin got some inspiration when writing GoT.  

Here are the post in the data base. 
The one in the middle
The one to the right

/ Amica and Maria

Spindel whorl from Sigtuna, SF 1502:ac inv. 123464

Spindel whorls made of bone have been found at many archeological excavations, from Swedish cities. They are dated from late 10th century and onwards to the 14-15th century.
The design is as simple as it is genius. A femoral head from an animal have been cut in half and a hole have been drilled in the centre of the semicircle piece. Creating a perfectly round spindle whorl. Sometimes a disc have been cut from the femoral head, making a slightly lighter whorl.

The whorls are sometimes decorated. Most common are the plain once.

The spindle whorl from Sigtuna is just one out of many, and we plan to post more pictures and measurements from them here on the blog.

SF 1502:ac inv. 123464
The spindle whorl measures 442mm wide, 24 mm thick.
It weighs 22g.
Dating- this whorl is undated, but similar whorls have been found from Sigtuna and they are dated 985-1000, 1075-1100, 1125-1175. So we can put this whorl in the same time.

Today it can be found in the collections of Sigtuna museum. Sigtuna was the first city in Sweden and the city was founded at the end of the 10th century. The city is very cute and if you ever visit Stockholm or Uppsala- take a detour to Sigtuna!

Happy spinning!
/ Amica and Maria

Medieval belt buckle from Kalmar, Sweden

Sometimes you find a find that you haven’t seen before, and you get really exited about it. This is one of them! This belt buckle is found in Kalmar, Sweden. It was found in the famous excavation Slottsfjärden, the castle bay, where the city of Kalmar emptied the bay of water during 1933-1934 and the bay got cleaned up. A pile of things were found but unfortunately a lot of the things are still very anonymous. And we don’t think they get the attention they deserve.

Today this lovely buckle is in the collections of Historiska Museet in Stockholm, Sweden.

According to the information the buckle, it’s dated to “medeltid” meaning Medieval 1100 – 1500AD . We guess that the dating could be a bit more narrow, we think it belongs in the time frame 1350-1500. Please share your thoughts on the subject too!

The metal is copper alloy. And the buckle measures:
Length- 6,4 cm
Width front- 6,7 cm
Width back- 5,8 cm

It still have some small pieces of leather, that probably was the belt, still attached to the metal. It has also a lightly ornamented decoration.

We really like it and hope that someone, that works with metal, would like to make a copy of it.

Happy weekend!
/ Amica and Maria

When sharing pictures please cred us. CC-By-SA

An unknow medieval lantern from Hälsingland

An unknown lantern from Järvsö in Hälsingland, Sweden.

In the Hälsinglandsmuseum collection there is a lantern in metal, HM5109. This lantern appeared in a search at DigtialtMuseum site, when Maria was looking for lanterns in October. It was not dated, but there was something about the shape that screamed “medieval” at her. The text “Help Maria Son” indicated that this had been produced before the Reformation. Our King Gustav Vasa split with the pope in 1524, and in 1527 the Riksdag in Västerås declared Protestantism and Catholicism as equivalent doctrines. 
 
Maria contacted the museum and they kindly sent some information to us. They had documents that indicated the lantern had a medieval dating. This made us excited and we booked a visit to the museum in order to look at this rarity. So, in the super cold of December we took the train to Hudiksvall to have a look at it.

The lantern is made of copper plate, possibly an alloy. The top is rounded and has a 25 small ventilation holes to release heat. The door is probably replaced as it does not follow the design or the material of the lantern. The door is made of iron and has an window opening. The door has metal strips riveted on the inside, sides and bottom. That creates a frame that allows a curved horn plate to be slid down and serve as a window. The door has remnants of an organic material at the bottom of the frame. Most likely, this is the remains of a horn plate. All rivets on the door are of iron. The hinges are of the same material as the rest of the lantern. The door also has a hasp for closing.

In the middle of the bottom of the lantern there is a hole, where the candle holder, the hollow, has probably been placed. However, it’s gone. The back of the lantern has nine holes where probably a handle has been attached. The two top holes still have rivets. The handle is missing.
 
The back of the lantern is richly decorated. In the middle of the back there is a foliage surrounded by a border. On the sides acanthus borders and text above and below. The top reads HELP MA, and the bottom RIA SON.
 
The lantern measures 23.5cm in height and 9,5 cm in diameter. The top is approx. 4-4.5 cm high. The door opening measures approx. 5.5-6 cm in width and the door is approx. 18-18.5cm high.
 
Dating. The lantern is interpreted, by Henrik Cornell, as a Swedish work from the end of the 15th century. We agree with the dating. Hand-held lanterns are quite often depicted in art and these seem to be common from the middle of the 15th century.

There are several pictures of lanterns of this design depicted in medieval art. We have chosen a small selection for illustration. We have not relied too much about the date of these pictures, but they all date to the latter part of the 15th century.

The lantern from Järvsö shows great similarities with the lantern from Källby, which today is to be found in the collections at Kulturen in Lund, Sweden. The model is quite similar, the decorations, the material and the separate top. This lantern is also interpreted as a Swedish work from the late 15th century.

We are, of course, incredibly happy that the medieval lantern has been rediscovered. And we are very happy that we have been involved in finding a somewhat forgotten medieval object.
/ Amica and Maria 
Pictures of the lantern: Historical textiles. CC-BY

A printed chasuble from Husaby church, Sweden

We would like to wish you all a happy weekend with a very rare object.
A block printed chasuble in linen from Husaby church, Västergötland, Sweden. Dated early 15th century.
The chasuble is in a remarkable condition considering it’s age. And it has kept it original medieval shape and have not been remade in any matter.

The chasuble consists of six different pieces sewn together and then printed on top of seams and everything. The fabric is woven in two shaft/ plain weave, and is a fairly even weave with high class spun threads. No lumps on the threads!

Originally it was printed with black paint, but it also show signs of being painted with a red, yellow and green paint on some places. The green paint have eaten the fabric and today the fabric is broken where it was painted.

The pattern bring to mind 14th century Italian silk weaves and it’s very easy to understand where the inspiration came from.

The print believes to be either Swedish or German. The print size is 44 x 15 cm.

Today the chasuble is to be found in the collections of The Swedish History Museum.

/ Amica and Maria

Photos by Historical Textiles and Historiska
Please use CC-BY if reposting.

A glove from Kalmar

We would like to wish you all a happy weekend with a glove from medieval Kalmar, Sweden. It was found in Slottfjärden, the castle bay, during the cleaning of the bay in 1932-34.

The glove is made in nålbinding/ needlebinding technique. The yarn is wool and might be mixed with some fibres from cow or/ and goat. We can’t tell what stitch that have been used. And we are more then happy to take new close up photos if anyone might have a good eye for analyzing stitches.

The yarn is two plyed. The dating of the glove is “medieval”- possibly 13th- late 15th century. 

Today the glove is in the collections of Historiska museet in Stockholm.

Sorry for posting an old photo from the database, but we have misplaced our photos of the glove. We will add them when we find em again.

/ Amica and Maria

Advent calendar December 24th 2018

Today we in Sweden celebrates Christmas.
Our twenty fourth advent calendar post is a silk and gold thread embroidery. It’s made in the studio connected to the famous painter Albertus Pictor. Aka Albert Pärlstickare  ( bead/ pearl embroider).

The embroidery is a back shield and was originally attached to a cope from Maria church, Sigtuna, Sweden.

The shield is dated to mid- late 15th century.

Now in collections of Historiska museet, Sweden.

God jul!
/Amica and Maria
Photo: Historical Textiles