Saturday, May 1, 2010

(Flimsy) Evidence for Tablet Weaving in the Medieval Middle East

Happy AS 45, everone.

A friend of mine recently asked me to do some Middle Eastern tablet weaving for her. I set to work, looking to see what I could document. Result? Nothing. I don't know whether they weren't doing tablet weaving in period, they were but the evidence doesn't survive or isn't widely available in English, or if I'm just looking in the wrong places. My friend wasn't going to let that get in the way of some pretty trim, so I changed my focus from "What tablet weaving did they do in the Middle East?" to "What is the least implausible technique to use for tablet weaving in the Middle East?" The answer I came up with was brocaded or doubleface. Please note that I am NOT suggesting that I have evidence that these techniques were practised in the Middle East in period. All the examples I could come up with were a) created either outside the Middle East or out of period and b) made by Christians (My friend's persona is Arab). It's just the best guess I could make with the information I have.

There are 2 brocaded bands from Israel mentioned in EPAC: a piece of 7th century trim from Coptic Egypt, and a medieval fragment from a Crusader church. A doubleface band from Coptic Egypt (10th century) features on p. 172 of Collingwood. There are also the Jerusalem Garters, which date from the mid-17th century onward, pictured on p. 169 of Collingwood.

If anyone out there knows of any tabletwoven bands from the Medieval Middle East, I would love to heard about them. Meanwhile, what technique did I use for my friend's band? Egyptian diagonals. Well, the pattern she wanted was just crying out for them, and it's not as though I'll have much opportunity to make Egyptian diagonal bands documentable to my own persona. The writeup of that band will follow shortly.

2 comments:

  1. There were some tablet-woven closures (?) on an Ottoman garment in Ipek: The Crescent & the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets. I don't remember the exact date, but it was later than medieval, but might have been pre-17th-century.

    I don't own the book or I could look up the details, sorry.

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  2. Thanks! Looks like there's a copy of that in a library I have access to :-)

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