Textiles through History

by Signora Sofia Matriani della Tempesta

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Tunic with Dionysiac Ornament, Tunic, 4–5th century

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Middle Eastern  

Ninth Century
Fragment with Lion and "Tree of Life" Motifs

It is from Zandaneh, near Bukhara, in Central Asia

Near and Middle Eastern Textiles

Viking Era  

The Oseberg ship was found in a large burial mound on Slagen farm in Vestfold and excavated in 1904. The ship was built in around 815-820 A.D. and had been used as a sailing vesssel for many years before it was put to use as a burial ship for a prominent woman who died in 834.

The textiles in the Oseberg ship


14th Century  

Woven Silk with Addorsed and Regardant Griffins in Roundels, Textile, late 13th–early 14th century

western Mediterranean (Spanish?) or east Iranian;


Fragment - Covering lampas; silk, membranous silver
Lucca, end of the Fourteenth century - beginning of the Fifteenth century

Pattern with stitch covered by an exploded palmette developing from a ribbon (Chinese symbol of tisch)
and closed below by a globe circumscribing three spheres from which rays branch out (symbol of Chinese luen); the palmette is joined by a couple of eagles lying on their back followed below by a couple of
facing lions.

15th Century  
Length of Velvet, end of the 15th
century Italian; Made/manufactured:
Venice, Italy Silk, metal thread; W. 23 in.
16th Century    

Fragment - One unit cross-hatched velvet; Venice silk, first half of the Sixteenth century

Make-up with grid of stitches and a big lobed leaf in the middle, covered with a crown. Type of velvet
whose production is documented in Venice. The quality of yarns and the manufacturing technique made this fabric a symbol of social distinction. Still, its use is documented also in the manufacture of sacred vestments.


16th century English silk and metallic needlepoint panel with floral and vine pattern enclosing doubled initials C and V on cream ground, with red velvet lower border with metallic embroidery and fringe. Possibly made for Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. source: http://www.ktaylor-lotus.com


17th Century  

(detail; Italy, Venice, about 1620–30)
Silk darning on silk

In buratto work, darning stitches are worked with a needle on fine gauze or net (called lacis) to create the
pattern. A form of counted canvas embroidery, it is finer, looser, and more flexible than needlepoint.



Late 17th century Italian column covers with red velvet appliqué and polychrome silk embroidery on a gold colored silk ground depicting scrolling vines, flower heads, birds and strapwork. Framed by modern red velvet. Dimensions: 10¹8² high x 19*² wide each source: http://www.ktaylor-lotus.com



17th century Italian pair of column covers with gold metallic fabric applied to red silk damask in scrolling floral patterns, with metallic tape border. Dimensions: 8¹7" high x 11*" wide; 9¹ high x 11*" wide

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