Monthly Archives: October 2013

Samite Research

What is Samite?

Silk; Samit weave. Iran or Central Asia, Sogdiana, 8th century.   © 2014 The Cleveland Museum of Art. All rights reserved. (http://www.clevelandart.org/art/1996.2.1)

Silk; Samit weave. Iran or Central Asia, Sogdiana, 8th century.
© 2014 The Cleveland Museum of Art. All rights reserved. (http://www.clevelandart.org/art/1996.2.1)

Samite (samit, samitum) belongs to a category of fabrics called compound weaves.  Any type of woven structure which involves more than two elements is a compound weave (two or more warps and/or wefts).

More specifically, samite is weft-faced compound twill weave.  The textile uses a main warp, binding warp, and a weft composed of two or more series of threads.  These weft threads work in combination to produce one weft pick on the face of the cloth. The other or others are kept to the reverse. The ends of the binding warp bind the weft in passes, and the ground and the pattern are formed simultaneously. The entire surface is covered by weft floats, which hide the main warp ends.  From the front, samite looks like a weft-dominant twill weave.

compound-twill

Samite: showing face and side-view of the weave.

Where/When was Samite Produced?

Use of this weave was very common for a long part of the medieval period, and from early on was the primary weave for polychrome silk textiles.  It is believed this weave originated in Sassanian  Persia no later that the beginning of the 7th century C.E.  It is commonly associated with Byzantine silks, as the greater part of these were woven in samite until the 11th century.  This is true for almost all of the Mediterranean areas.  Burials at Birka and Oseberg contain thin strips of samite silk, which is not surprising given Norse contact with Byzantium.  Samite remained popular in North-Western Europe throughout the 13th century.

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Taqueté Research

What is Taqueté?

Pattern woven wool, taqueté. 3rd-5th century. China

Taqueté belongs to a category of fabrics called compound weaves.  Any type of woven structure which involves more than two elements is a compound weave (two or more warps and/or wefts).

More specifically, taqueté is weft-faced compound tabby weave.  The textile uses a main warp, binding warp, and a weft composed of two or more series of threads.  These weft threads work in combination to produce one weft pick on the face of the cloth. The other or others are kept to the reverse. The ends of the binding warp bind the weft in passes, and the ground and the pattern are formed simultaneously. The entire surface is covered by weft floats, which hide the main warp ends.   From the front, taqueté looks like a weft-dominant tabby weave.

compound-tabby

Taqueté: showing face and side-view of the weave.

Where/When was Taqueté Produced?

Taqueté was probably one the earliest compound weaves produced, and appears throughout history.  I can’t give a full account of where and when it was woven and worn, but here are some notes.

  • Believed to have evolved from Chinese jin silk (warp-faced compound tabby) which was known in Han Dynasty China (206 B.C.E. – 221 C.E.).
  • Near East (Roman): 1st century C.E., though likely earlier, in wool. 4th C.E. century in silk.
  • By the 10th or 1th century weft-faced compound weaves began to be replaced by lampas weave, which was more efficient to produce.
  • Several fragments exist from 13th century Spain.
  • Produced in Ottoman Turkey (where it was known as seraser), where it was usually woven with metallic threads.

Silk, metal wrapped thread; taqueté (seraser). First half 16th century. Turkey, probably Istanbul.

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Green Gown Progress!

The tabs are on and the skirt is attached. Now I am embroidering down the front of the skirt.

Dress

In Progress

 

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