Today, 24th of December, we celebrate Christmas ( Jul) in Sweden. That means this is the last calendar post. We hope that you have enjoyed this years calendar and that you have seen things that you haven’t seen before.
Todays post is a Swedish embroidery. Wool on linen. Dated mid 15th century.
We have analysed the embroidery and a full report will come soon.
Merry Christmas and a Happy new year! / Amica and Maria
Photo: Historical Textiles- please cred if sharing.
Today we travel to the north of Sweden. All the way up to Resele church in Ångermanland. The medieval church was demolished 1841 when the new church was built. Today’s textile is an antependium from the old church.
It’s a wool weave and it has got one warp system and two weft systems. The birds are a common motif during the later part of the Middle ages and the antependium is dated 1350-1500, it is dated by style.
The textile is part of the collection at Historiska Museet in Sweden. / Amica and Maria
Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing
Some metals are better then other in combination with textiles. Iron tend to rust and this piece have today some rust “blobs” and rusty rings on the fabric. Originally it was rings sewn on to a velvet fabric. Most likely lacing rings on a doublet. The rings were sewn on with double white linen thread.
The piece comes from Italy and is dated 1470-1540. Read more about the finds from this collection here on our blog. Use the search word Italy and you will find more finds from the same collection.
/ Amica and Maria Photos: Historical Textiles – cred if you share!
Spindle whorls are often found in archeological excavations. The once found in medieval contexts are often made of bone, stone, metal or ceramic. In most of the cases the spindel stick is gone. Why? One thought is that a broken stick have a secondary value as fire wood. And that it’s difficult to mend a stick. And quite easy to make a new one.
What about spindel whorls made of wood? It’s a lot easier to cut a disc from a piece of wood then to make one in all materials mentioned above. Stone takes time to work with, and demands tools that can take some beating. Metal whorls was most likely made by craftsmen in a guild. Bone needs a saw, a tool that not all persons had. Ceramic needs a kiln.
We find few or no whorls made in wood. And when a wooden disc is found- can we be sure that it is a whorl without the spindle stick?
Anyhow- in the Gothem church on Gotland, Sweden, some items was found under the 13th century floorboards. A broken disc and something that really look like a distaff. Is the disc a whorl? We don’t know. What do you say?
Plant dyed fade over time. The more light they are exposed to the faster the fading goes. What was dyed on a large scale in historical times was wool and silk. Linen is difficult to dye, unless it’s blue.
Sometimes you are lucky and can see the backside of an old textile. The backside have often been protected from light and are therefore of stronger colours then the front side.
Here- a gilded leather embroidery dated to mid 15th century. Skokloster 2, today in the collections of Historiska museet, Stockholm, Sweden. To the right you can see the front, and in the middle the backside. Compare and see for yourself.
Sometimes you come across a breathtaking textile. This fabric, that is part of a Swedish embroidery from mid to late 15th century, is probably that highest quality linen we have ever seen.
The photo is taken with a USB microscope and we are sad that the quality of the photo is not matching that quality of the fabric. Sorry for the blurry pic!
The fabric measures 21-22 threads per 5mm. That is 42-44 threads per cm. Thinking of the skills that it takes to hand spin, on spindle, such even and thin threads is just beyond mad. The weave is super even and it is just pure pleasure for a weaver to look at it.
” Aglets (aiglets)- These small handmade metal tubes were sewn, or attached with tiny metal rivets, to the end of leather, cord or ribbon laces. You can find their plastic descendants on shoelaces today. Aglets, also known as aigletts, throwes or pyntes, were most commonly used from the 15th to the 17th century, when fashion and necessity required people to be laced together. They were used to secure the shaping structures that were worn under women’s skirts, known as farthingales, to fasten jerkins and to tie sleeves and hose (short or long trousers) to doublets (fitted padded jackets). Since virtually everyone needed them, they were mass produced, often quite crudely, and cheap to buy at around 2-3 pennies per dozen, which is why they are found in such numbers.” – London Mudlark: Lara Maiklem
Today we leave Sweden for a quick visit to Italy. We have had the pleasure to analyze a medieval textile collection with several objects in it. The owner wants to be unknown and we can’t therefore tell you where to find the objects. The collection is dated 1470-1540.
In the collection a broken point is found. It’s a tabby rep woven silk band and an aiglet at the end. The colors are brown and purple. The aiglet is made out of some sort of copper alloy/ brass. The band measures approx. 10-11mm and the weft is purple silk. It is possibly woven in a rigid heddle.
/ Amica and Maria
Photo: Historical Textiles – please cred us if sharing.
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