Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tablet woven bands in Sakrale Gewänder des Mittelalters

Every now and then I get a little excited about some book just because it has some passing reference to something I'm currently researching. Sakrale Gewänder des Mittelalters (Hirmer Verlag Muenchen, 1955) piqued my curiosity a few months ago due to being cited by a few people in relation to the Girdle of Witgarius. It happened to be on offer cheap second hand on Amazon at the time and I couldn't help myself. So, what does this book say about the Girdle (my translation from the German)?

Red, tablet woven silk band with narrow, yellow-green edges, in the middle cut into two pieces and sewn together. At both ends trapezoidal end pieces sewn on. Brocade in gold thread forms the field for the inscription in red relief: "WITGARIO TRIBVTI SACRO SPIRAMINE PLENVM x HANC ZONAM REGINA NITENS SANCTISSIMA HEMMA x. On the end pieces, in red and white, the warp creates the pattern: Eagle white on red, correspondingly on the back side red on white, in which on both sides the white is covered in gold thread. The warp is collected at the ends in ten bundles, bound tightly with white silk and finished in each case with a bead. Above and beneath the eagle are diagonal stripes, which were originally studded with pearls. Only 15 such pearls remain. - Length 138cm, width 3.8cm, end pieces 5cm.

It then goes on to talk about similar bands found elsewhere. Not a lot of detail, but still some stuff of interest, so I thought I'd post it here in case anyone else is researching this item. There is also a picture of the side where the lettering is red, but it is no better than the one in Collingwood. Information on this item can also be found on p.237 of EPAC which dates it to between 860 and 876.

There is another tablet woven "belt" pictured in this book so I will include the translation for that as well. It is the Girdle of St Kunigunde:

Tablet woven band of red and blue silk with gold. Probably woven as a stole. Neck piece with checkerboard pattern in blue and red. Both end pieces with doubled brocade of gold thread, patterned with angular tendrils and sparse leaves. At the ends square applications of gilded silver with engraved representations of the evangelists' symbols. 14th century. -Length 142 cm. Cut at the ends. Width 3.8cm.

There is a picture, but all that can really be made out are the "evangelists' symbols" which appear to be an eagle on one end and a winged goat? on the other. This band is on p.238 of EPAC but the information there is just based on the above passage.

In addition to these two tablet woven articles, this book contains many lovely pictures of woven and embroidered ecclesiastical garments from medieval Germany. In retrospect it was a great purchase! In particular it has a picture of the buskins of Pope Clement II, clearly showing they have a separate sole piece, which is a question I was wanting the answer to a while back.

Although not really relevant to this blog, I think I may soon write out a list of the contents in a separate post, which may be of interest to people who a) are thinking of buying the book or b) are madly googling some item that happens to be in it in the hopes of finding a source of information.


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