Monthly Archives: January 2015

Damask Research

What is Damask?

Silk; damask weave. Italy ca. 1550.

Damask  weave as defined by CIETA vocabulary is a figured textile with one warp and one weft in which the pattern is formed by a contrast of binding systems. In its classic form, it is reversible, and the contrast is produced by the use of the warp and weft faces of the same weave. By extension, two distinct binding systems may also be employed.

Where/When was Damask Produced?

It is debated whether damask originated in China or Syria.  Wherever it originated, the earliest extant damask textiles were from Palmyra and were woven before 276 C.E.  They are believed to be of Chinese origin.  Examples of  3/1 – 1/3 twill block damasks have been found throughout second to fourth century Europe, and is believed to be of Roman origin.  Damask was considered to be one of the five main weaves of Byzantine and Islamic centres.  Damask weaving was becoming scarce by the 8th or 9th centuries, except for Islamic Spain, but was revived in some places in the 13th century.  By the 14th century, damask weaving was found in Italy.  Damask linen tablecloths and napkins were very popular in the 16th century in northern Europe

Silk damask. China, 200-400 C.E.

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