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
Our twenty-third advent calendar post is a relics purse from Troyes, France. This relics purse is connected to the Comtes de Champagne. The whole surface of the purse is filled with counted embroidery made in filament silk. We don’t know what is underneath the stitches, but we guess at a very evenly woven linen.
We were really surprised bu the size of the purse, it’s quite large. Approx. 20- 25 cm in the bottom of the purse. It’s in great condition and the small lovely turks head knots around the bottom and the lid are super cute and impressivly even.
Our seventh advent calendar post is, technically speaking, not a textile any more. But it used to be. In 1361 the bodies of the fallen from The Battle of Wisby was buried outside of the city of Visby on Gotland, Sweden. The med were buried in their armors and clothes as they wore that day, 27th of July 1361. The textiles have after 569 years in the ground gone missing. But at some places where the textile have been in close contact with the metal from the armors, the textile have become metallized after so long time in contact with the metal.
This piece of amour might give us an indication on where on the body the textile were used. If the textile imprint in placed on the inside of a lamella from a coat of plates, one can assume that the textile have been part of some sort of clothing on that person. Sometimes it’s even possible to tell the weaving technique and even the fiber content.
The lamella with textile is dated to 27th of July 1361.
Now in collections of Historiska museet, Sweden. / Amica and Maria Photo: Historical Textiles
Our fourth advent calendar post is a purse made out of brownish/ purpleish silk velvet with metal band decoration. It’s lined with red leather. Draw string is made out of blue silk.
The purse have been used as a reliquary bag and contains small hard objects wrapped in fabric and with notes of parchment. Possibly bones from saint/s. We have no idea what saint or saints.
The purse is dated to 1350-1500 AD,
Now in collections of Historiska museet, Sweden.
/ Amica and Maria
Photo: Historical Textiles
Denna textil är hittad vid utgrävningarna i kvarteret Rådhuset i Uppsala. Textilien är daterad till 1200-1500. Idag är den en del av samlingarna från Historiska Museet.
Fragmentet är ett ylletyg, vävt i 2/2 kypert och är av en relativt fin kvalité, även om den i dag är mycket tunnsliten. Varptråden är tunn och jämn, den är Z-spunnen med många snoddvarv per cm. Inslaget är lite tjockare än varpen. Inslaget är S- spunnet och har inte heller lika många snoddvarv per cm, detta medför att inslaget är lösare och fyller ut mer än vad varpen gör, i tyget. Därför är det också färre inslag per cm än det är med antalet varptrådar per cm. Att förhållandet mellan inslag och varp är så här pass olika är mycket vanligt under medeltiden.
Tittar man noga längs kanterna finns det på sina håll tydliga lämningar av tidigare stygn. Dessa stygn syns idag som ett antal runda små hål, och de är placerade på rad efter varandra. Jämnt fördelade.
Fragmentet räknar vi till grupp 3 – fragment av utslitna klädesplagg. Det skulle mycket väl ha kunnat varit ett klädesplagg ursprungligen. Vilket plagg tror du att det kan ha varit en del av?
Amica och Maria
Photo: Ola Myrin, SHM
This textile fragment was found at the excavations at Rådhuset (City Hall) in Uppsala. The textile is dated to 1200-1500. Today it is part of the collections at The Swedish History Museum.
The fragment is a woolen fabric, woven in 2/2 twill and of a relatively fine quality, although today it is very worn and thin. The warp threads are thin and even, they are Z-spun with a high twist per cm. The weft is a bit thicker than the warp. The warp is S-spun and does not have as many twists per cm, which means that the warp is looser and fills out the fabric more than the warp does. Therefore, there are also fewer weft threads per cm than warp threads per cm. This kind of sett is very common during the Middle Ages.
Looking closely along the edges, remains of previous stitches are plainly visible. These stitches can be seen today as a number of small round holes, evenly spaced in a row. We classify the fragment as group3 – fragments from worn-out garments. It could very well have been a garment originally.
What do you think it may have been a part of?
We would like to wish you all a happy weekend with a historical textile related artifact!
This week we show you a lace end, a point.
We would also like to celebrate that we have now over 10400 followers on Facebook <3
The lace end, the point, is excavated from the nunnery of Gudhem, Västergötland, Sweden. Dating 1100-1500 AD. The nunnery was closed 1529 AD. We guess that the item might comes from the 14-15th century.
It’s a simple piece of twisted brass or copper wire, leaving an opening for the lace thread. The cut end have been hammered so that the metal wires are smooth and form a point. There is no traces left of textile on this particular piece. But there are other twist point’s that still have a textile cord attached to it, so we are certain that this kind of twist points were used as lace points. Approx. size 4cm.
This piece can be found in the collections of Historiska museet in Stockholm, Sweden. Here is a link to the find in the database ( no picture).
/ Amica and Maria
ps. sorry for the crappy picture- we are gong to give you more pictures of twist points in the future.
We would like to wish you all a happy weekend with a historical textile!
This week we focus on another celebrity from Denmark, from the exhibition at National museum in Copenhagen. The belt of Eric of Pomerania.
We would also like to celebrate that we have now over 10300 followers on Facebook 😀
The belt is tablet woven in silk and gilded silver. Originally the silk was very colourful in red, blue and green. The gold have fallen off but on some places one can see traces of it. The belt is dated to: girdle and belt mounts- early 13th – early 14th century.
Buckle and strap end- mid-15th century (Fingerlin 1971; Nørlund 1937)
A full analysis have been done by Viktoria Holmqvist and her article is published in: North European Symposium for Archaeological Textiles X Series: Ancient Textiles Series Volume: 5, Copyright Date: 2010, Published by: Oxbow Books
Thank you Viktoria for an amazing job <3
We would like to wish you all a happy weekend with a historical textile!
It’s late and we have been working hard in the dye pots all day long. But to keep our promise, to give you nice pictures once a week, we just post pictures of a celebrity everyone already know.
From the exhibition at National museum in Copenhagen, Denmark. A children’s kirtle made in wool from Herjolfsnes on Greenland.
Check out the lovely 2/2 twill and the nice front gore. The kirtle is dated to late 14th century ( please tell us if we are wrong- can’t find the book at this hour…) !
We would like to wish you all a happy weekend with historical textile news.
This week we focus on the textile collection at Statens Historiska museum in Stockholm, Sweden. This is the working place of Amica Sundström, from Historical textiles, where she works as the textile curator.
Right now the museum are taking new photos of the textile collection. That means high resolution pictures of the textile collection that can be found online in the near future.