Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dye Your Own Fabric
eBook by Quilting Arts Magazine

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Introduction
The Quilting Arts Magazine annually publishes an eBook of various articles that have appeared in the magazine that collectively embrace a common theme. This year the title of its eBook is: "Dye Your Own Fabric". The editor of the magazine, Vivika DeNegre, wrote in the eBook preface: "We’ve gathered a collection of articles that showcase a variety of techniques for creating one-of-a-kind hand-dyed fabrics. From textured shibori to flat dyeing, iced parfaits to snow resists, you’ll be surprised by the many ways you can add color to cloth."

Quilting Arts eBook can be purchased from the Interweave Shop

I will not pretend that I am not biased about this eBook, since I authored one of the ten selected articles. Nevertheless I would like to give you a taster of what the book contains so that if you are excited about its contents (as I am) it is well worth purchasing in order to add it to your "hands-on" library.

Marie-Therese


An eBook Taster - "Dye Your Own Fabric"
The ten articles are well illustrated, colorful and informative in terms of developing a step-by-step process or by making the dyeing process an event. These are "how to do" articles rather than "display the outcome" articles. Each artist has a unique approach to impart skills that are required to produce an end result. However, they are not Master Classes in the sense of building on previous learnt skill sets and polishing the techniques to a high degree of sophistication. I will give only a taster of each authors' work.

Robin Ferrier - Out Door Flat Dyeing
"The type of dyeing that I prefer, flat dyeing, is actually a method of low-immersion dyeing done on a flat surface. This is not a new concept, but it’s one I’ve refined to suit not only the type of work I do, but also the space and materials I have to work with. The results of this dye technique are gorgeous hand-dyed solid fabrics with a slightly mottled texture."

"Using flat dyeing, all of these fabrics can be dyed at the same time."

Kristine Lundblad - A Party To Dye For!
"Artists who dye their own fabric may think the same thing ... dyeing is a messy process and requires a lot of advance preparation. With just a little thoughtful planning, however, anyone can host a dyeing party. And who doesn’t love an invitation to play in someone else’s studio?"

"I asked for suggestions from a few recent Quilting Arts contributors—April Sproule, Robin Ferrier, Carol Ludington, and Lynda Heines — who graciously offered thoughtful insights that made my party a success."

Jeannie Palmer Moore - Preserving The White
"I recently challenged myself to experiment with different ways of preserving the white of the fabric before I dyed it. As a watercolor painter, I am familiar with using resists on paper, but I needed to find out more about resists on fabric. I decided to test two different resist products: white screen printing ink and Presist, with two different dye treatments: a pre-reduced indigo dye vat and Procion MX dyes."

“Golden Indigo; 12" × 12" Cotton and canvas fabrics; screened with Presist and white screen printing ink resists; dyed using an indigo dye vat and Procion dyes; finished with free-motion machine stitching and embellishments."

Marcia Derse - Dye Your Own Cloth
"My dyeing process has evolved over time. The chemistry and techniques were gleaned primarily from surface design classes taught by Liz Axford, Connie Schele, Cherie St. Cyr, and Sue Benner. Over the years I tweaked and changed their processes until I came up with a methodology that works for me. Use the instructions that follow as a guideline to create your own unique one-of-a-kind fabrics."

"Over-dyeing hand-dyed fabric allows for infinite color combinations and interesting patterns when you use a resist as one step in the process. The resist preserves the original color of the fabric, and the second layer of dye transforms a simple hand dye to a piece of complex cloth."

Joanell Connolly - Through Thick & Thin
"Your own collection of designer silk fabrics is within your grasp. By using thickened silk dyes and an array of surface design tools, you can create fabric in an endless variety of colors and patterns."

"Create designer fabrics with thickened silk dyes."

Lynda Heines - Ice Dyeing
"My first attempt at dyeing fabric with fiber-reactive dye occurred this past winter using snow. I loved the vivid results I was able to achieve and wanted to continue dyeing, but the snowy season was over. Because snow is made up of ice crystals, I decided to experiment with ice cubes. Using ice cubes to dye fabric offers year-round results very similar to snow dyeing."

"But best of all, I’ve found that when using ice cubes, the colors are even brighter!"

Carol Ludington - Dye Your Own Iced Parfait
"My favorite hand-dyed fabrics have lots of movement and texture, and have been the result of snow dyeing, parfait dyeing, and ice dyeing. I like the way each of these techniques yields vibrant color and unexpected patterns, while being relatively simple to do in the small space of my studio. I wanted to find a way to combine the best of these techniques and create my own fabrics. The result is what I call my “icedparfait” technique; it allows me to dye multiple pieces of fabric simultaneously and achieve gorgeous combinations of vibrant color."

"I was first inspired to try ice dyeing after seeing Lynda Heines’ article in the August/September 2011 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine."

Judi Jakab - Snow Resist Dyeing
"I was inspired by an online dyeing group to try this technique. One of the gals in the group showed us how to do it and I loved the results she got. Sadly, I had to wait two months in order to have snow to try it. Once I tried it, I loved the texture it created on the fabric and the rest is history."

"I have dyed more than 1,000 yards of fabric this way and sell the finished product at quilt shows and online."

Marie-Therese Wisniowski - New Landscapes
"Over the past decade, I have experimented with handprinting techniques using disperse dyes on synthetic fabrics. These experiments have led me to a new technique I call multisperse dye sublimation (MSDS)."

"MSDS employs disperse dyes using numerous color plates, multiple resists (low-relief plant materials) which are overprinted in layers."

Sue Cavanaugh - Extreme Shibori
"When I started dyeing my own fabric, I was especially drawn to stitch-resist shibori. Shibori is the Japanese term for various methods of shaped-resist dyeing, including pole wrapping, clamping, folding, and binding. As a lifelong hand stitcher, I found the stitches of shibori especially compelling. I started putting different stitches together to form a pattern, and experimented with slight changes to the stitches to alter the pattern."

"My current series of wholecloth quilts uses an adaptation of the mokume stitch and the ori-nui stitch."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

After Five: Fashion from the Darnell Collection[1]
Wearable Art

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Preamble
Designer clothes, cloths and wearable art itself have featured on this blogspot. For your convenience I have listed the following posts that feature images of designer clothes, cloths and/or wearable art.
Confluence – 2011 International SDA Conference
Transformation
ArtCloth Swap
A Selection of My Scarves
A New Collection of Designer Cloths
The Art of Jenny Kee
My Velvet Scarves@Purple Noon
Fabric Lengths@QSDS
Costumes of Ballets Russes
Nuno Felted Scarves@Felted Pleasure
Versace Retrospective – 1982 to 1997
My Fabric Collection
Costumes of the Tsars
Ludmilla's Wearable Art
Australian Craft Finalist Award
Fashion From 1907 to 1967


Introduction
The Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Center (Sydney, NSW) presented a vintage fashion fest on Sunday the 5th May 2013. The centerpiece of the fest was the exhibition - “After Five: Fashion from the Darnell Collection” – featuring stylistic moments in fashion from the 1920s onwards.

The vintage fashion program also included a “Wild Ones Autumn Market”, a vintage dress up photo booth, free vintage clothing evaluations, brooch making for mother’s day (children/adult activity), making mother’s day cards, film screenings and guided tours of the gallery.

I wont bore you with the way I looked wearing my vintage fashion outfit by House of Merivale and Mr. John.
Marie-Therese.


A Brief History of Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre
The property at 782-800 Kingsway, Gymea was purchased during World War II by Mr Ben Broadhurst. In 1946 a house was constructed on the site. It sits on 1.4 hectares of gardens. In 1976 Ben and Hazel Broadhurst transferred their property to the Sutherland Shire Council and so gifted the property to Council.


Hazelhurst Cottage on the grounds of the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre. It also serves as a premise for the artist in residence.

The garden area around the house is a special feature of the property, which includes Cypress Pines, Poplars and Jacarandas planted by Ben Broadhurst.


Some of the trees that litter the gardens of Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre.

After the property came into Council’s possession, in 1995 the "Friends of Hazelhurst" was established in order to support the realization of a Community Arts Centre and Regional Gallery. With the substantial commitment of the Sutherland Shire Council, and with the added support of $1million from the Federal Government, building on the site commenced in 1998.

The architects for the building were Michael Bennet – Partner, Jackson, Teece, Chesterman, Willis in partnership with Esther & Trevor Hayter. The builders were Belmador Builders. The garden was designed by Oi Choong.


The Café, Shop and Gallery at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre.

Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre opened its doors on January 22, 2000. It was the first public arts centre of its kind in Australia. A more detailed history of Hazelhurst is available to visitors for purchase from the Hazelhurst gallery shop.


Mission of the Gallery
Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre is heavily involved in showcasing the artists of the region as well as raising the awareness of Arts in the community and moreover, offers creative and skills based education programs for primary and secondary students. Programs compliment exhibitions in the regional gallery, explore the beautiful landscaped gardens and make use of the extensive art studio facilities.


Children being given an intuitive insight into art.

Its outreach into the community is further supplemented by providing primary school, high school, adult, and master classes to the wider community. For example, Hazelhurst Master classes are professional one or two day workshops that allow you to enhance and develop your skills with new techniques, while working with an experienced artist as tutor. Classes are regularly available in different media and are designed for those seeking to further their creative development, as well as being for the more seasoned artist.


Fabric silk screening.

A number of facilities are for hire such as meeting rooms, studios, the Regional Gallery foyer, café and deck, garden and theatrette.


Printing press in one of the studios.

It has an artist-in-residency program in which the resident artist can make use of the original Hazelhurst cottage. The residence program allows artists to work and share their experiences with the community through scheduled talks and master classes. The program provides visitors with the opportunity to meet the artists and observe their creative process.


Sculpture by Robbie Rowlands – who was an artist in residence.

Whilst it has a heavy commitment to the community, 70% of its exhibitions are of national and international significance with the “After Five” exhibition being one of them.


After Five: Fashion From The Darnell Collection
The “After Five” exhibition celebrates the artistry of designers of the twentieth century. In doing so it gives a glimpse of the social history of women in that era.


“After Five” exhibition. The title refers to clothes worn after 5pm.

Doris Darnell was an American who lived in Chicago. She started her collection in 1937 (during the darkest days of the Depression) by buying a peach-colored slipper satin dress in a shop - Bryn Maw - in Philadelphia. This purchased triggered a lifelong passion for buying and admiring elegant eveningwear.



Evening bag ca. 1935.
Silk, cotton, metal and glass.
Gloves: kid leather.

Although a Quaker, this did not restrict her entry into fashion collection. When friends and philanthropists offered her their treasured dress, hat or handbag, she would record the story behind the gift which in her mindset was as important as the gift itself.


Evening dress ca. 1935. Front full view.
Silk crepe, glass and metal beads.
Gifted in memory of Deborah McKeown (2006).
Elements: Columnar line in keeping with the vogue for neoclassicism. The fabric (silk crepe) is suitable for draping and pleating and so allows the dress to fall from the shoulders. It is fastened with press-stud fastenings at the side. The backless evening gown is very much a 1930s statement.


Evening dress ca. 1935. Back detailed view.

During Second World War and its immediate aftermath, fashion was constrained, since fabrics were rationed. Doris Darnell like so many women of that time adopted a “make-do” attitude and so dresses were embellished using bows, beads and appliques. Nevertheless, that did not mean the end of purchasing after 5pm wear!


Cocktail dress and jacket ca. 1948. Full view.
Christian Dior (1905 – 1957), France.
Elements: Structured bodice shape with internal boning and fastened with minute hooks and eyes. The jacket is padded at the hips and an underskirt of stiffened tulle extends the full skirt.


Cocktail dress and jacket ca. 1948. Detailed view.

Her favorite fashion period was the second half of the 1950s. She was a mother with a young family during this time and so most of her entertaining was in her own home. This was the period when it was rigueur for women to own a range of evening wear, including cocktail dresses, dinner dresses and full-length ball gowns, each needing to be delineated by the mode of entertainment.


Evening dress 1951. Full view.
Hand-screened silk and cotton.
Gift of Barabara Coty, 2008.
Elements: Silk-screened black polka dots onto fabric.


Evening dress 1951. Detailed view.


Cocktail dress with attached stole ca. 1957. Full view.
Silk, cotton, metal and diamantes.
Elements: Full-skirted look, which typifies the 1950s.


Cocktail dress with attached stole ca. 1957. Detailed view.

By the 1960s Doris wore twin-sets with pencil skirts and in the evenings she looked sophisticated in the slender hostes gowns. At cocktail parties the little black dress was beginning to be featured.


Evening dress 1961 – 1963. Full view.
Mary Quant (1934 - ).
Silk machine lace, satin, rayon taffeta lining.
Acquired by Charlotte Smith, 2012.
Elements: Little black dress.


Evening dress 1961 – 1963. Detailed view.

For the next forty years Doris kept in contact with her goddaughter Charlotte Smith, who moved to Australia. In 2004 her goddaughter inherited the “second half” of Doris Darnell Collection comprising of a staggering 3500 items of clothing, from under wear to accessories to cocktail to evening gowns etc. The “first half” was given to Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania for their fashion archives. Today the Australian collection has grown to 8000 items through generous donations and selective purchases at vintage shops and textile auctions. Below are just a few that were on display at the exhibition “After Five”.


Dance dress ca. 1927. Full view.
Silk, glass and sequins.
Gift of Rosa Perlman (1923).
Elements: With no fastenings, this evening dress slips over the head. An overlay of diaphanous silk chiffon is beaded in an abstract pattern.


Dance dress ca. 1927. Detailed view.


Evening kaftan ca. 1970. Full View.
Synthetic.
Ninette Creations, Australia
Acquired by Charlotte Smith, 2011.
Elements: Made from Tricel, a silk-like synthetic the kaftan has a mesmerizing pattern associated with pop art, psychedelic and the hippie movement.


Evening kaftan ca. 1970. Detailed View.


Ball dress 2008. Full view.
Michelle Jank (1976-), Australia.
Merino Wool.
Gift of Australian Wool Innovation, 2008.
Photograph: G.Antoni (The Artist Group).
Elements: Fluid and luxurious flair from the hips.

Reference:
[1] After Five: Fashion From the Darnell Collection, Catalogue, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Early Textile Art
ArtCloth

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Introduction
I have often stated on this blogspot that there are three necessary conditions that all artworks possess: (a) they must be “engaged”; (b) they are non-functional; (c) they are aesthetic.

In prehistory textile production was a very time consuming exercise. For example, it has been estimated that using prehistoric processes it would take a total of one hundred and seventeen hours in order to produce a textile, thereby making it an extremely valuable commodity that would be readily traded and certainly repaired rather than discarded.

As we are thinking reeds, just to create a fabric to protect oneself from the elements is hardly typical of our overall needs. Fabrics were created with motifs for religious and non-religious purposes. In doing so, the functionality of the garment was only a purpose and not the total purpose for its creation.

This prehistory does create a dilemma for the modern artists who use fabrics or textiles as their medium to generate their art. Inevitably the historical functionality of fabrics now places much of their work, which has transcended functionality, into the category of the decorative arts - a category that is shared by such diverse areas as glassware, jewelry, lampshades, furniture etc. In modernity, the constant barrage of labeling continues to name art on fabrics and textiles as “decorative art”, even though such art has long escaped this demeaning title; tapestries, art cloth and art quilts – to name a few - have no function other than to be engaged as a work of art.

I therefore will not name this post - “Early Decorative Textiles” - as was the title of the book from which I have procured the images [1]. It is their “art” that stands before you and not the function of the fabric, since in most cases only remnants have survived the elements.

I hope you enjoy their work.

Marie-Therese


Early Textile Art
Human beings differ form animals in a number of aspects but the three that come to the fore is that we can control fire, we are capable of formulating ideas using abstract thought and moreover, we are the only species that makes clothes to protect ourselves from the elements (cold, heat, rain and wind) and from each other (armour).

Needles first appear in Western Europe on Upper Palaeolithic sites about 35,000 years ago. They show not only a newly found skill in working bone, but also suggest that skins and furs were being used to make such items as clothes, shoes, tents, blankets, nets and bags, as well as the production of thread. Due to the organic nature of the material, none of these articles have survived.

Late Magdalenian, about 12,500 years old
. Note the lack of eyelets.
From the cave of Courbet, Penne-Tarn, France.
Courtesy of the British Museum.

By the Bronze Age (4th millennium BC) clothes may have been made of linen, since fragments were found of plaited and woven cloth in such localities as Egypt, Pontic- Caspian steppes and the lake dwellings of Switzerland, which have been dated as early as the 3rd millennium BC.

Left Figure: Yamnaya Culture (Pontic-Caspian steppes), Dneprorudny village: (a) two imprints of a cloth with a twined warp obtained from a single ceramic vessel; (b) diagram of a textile weave. Right figure: Northern Caucasus Culture, Bamut Burial Mound: (a) imprint of a cloth with a twined warp; (b) diagram of a textile weave.

Patterned textiles in which the basic weave has been supplemented by inlaid weft threads have been found in Egypt, dating from the 22nd Dynasty (945 – 745 BC).

A fragment of ancient tapestry found in a Coptic tomb in Upper Egypt. In the lower portion of it the pattern appears light on dark. As a matter of fact, it was wrought in white and red upon a linen warp; but, as it happened, only the white threads were of linen, like the warp, the red were woolen, and in the course of fifteen hundred years or so much of this red wool has perished, leaving the white pattern intact on the warp, the threads of which are laid bare in the upper part of the illustration. See Project Gutenberg for more details.

Egyptian reliefs and wall-paintings, like those at Beni-Hasan (2380 – 2167 BC) show what the earliest primitive horizontal looms looked like. The vertical loom made its appearance during the New Kingdom (ca. 1550 – 1070 BC). The warp then lay either vertically or horizontally, and the fabric ws opened with a batten until.

Sketch of the vertical loom and how it was operated.

Though Egyptian paintings have made an important contribution to the study of the development of weaving techniques, other Mediterranean countries, above all Greece and the Kingdoms of the Near East, have provided a wealth of written sources that indicate the first flowering of weaving must have occurred there. For example in the Illiad Homer speaks enthusiastically of “Babylonian cloths” etc.

Grecian Clothes Depicted on the Vase.

Apart from wool and linen, the Assyrians of the 7th and 6th centuries BC were also familiar with silk, which was obtained using their own silkworms. Cotton was mentioned by Herodotus.

Bust of Herodotus. He was born between 500 BC and 470 BC.

Hallstatt is in upper Austria. It is internationally renowned for its prehistoric salt mines (1600 - 1200 BC). The climatic conditions in the mines are such that organic materials – such as textiles – were preserved for over 3000 years. They are some of the oldest dyed textiles in Europe, since they have been dated from the Bronze Age (ca. 1600 – 1200 BC) to the Early Iron Age (Hallstatt Culture, 850 – 350 BC).

Iron Age woven cloth from the Hallstatt salt mines.
Courtesy of Natural History Museum, Vienna.

Some of the first Bronze Age Scythian burials documented by modern archaeologists include the kurgans at Pazyryk in the Ulagan (Red) district of the Altai Republic, south of Novosibirsk in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia (near Mongolia). Specimens of silk cloth were found in Palmyra (Syria), which means they must reached there before 272 BC, when the city was destroyed.

Horseman, Pazyryk felt artifact, ca. 300 BC.

The caravan route that brought raw silk from China to the borders of Persia and Bactria had been operating since 114 BC. About this time the use of gold thread was becoming established. Chief centrs of silk industry developed at the western end of the caravan route, in towns like Tyre and Berytus (Beirut).

Numerous paintings and mosaics, like those in the Piazza Armerina in Sicily, show garments with decorative panels and applique work.

The great Roman villa near Piazza Armerina in Sicily, built in about AD 300, has mosaic floors. Of their many lively scenes none has given more delight than the group of bikini-clad maidens playing a musical game with a ball!

Byzantium, which Constantine the Great chose as his capital in AD 330, became in due course one of the main centers for the production and distribution of cloth. As a result, links with Eastern manufacturers became even stronger, as did those of Rome with the western half of the empire.

Cloth was woven in the women’s quarters of the imperial palace, and part of the output was reserved for the emperor himself and his chief officials. The dyers, gold-embroiderers and tailors were so tied to their work that before they could stop for even a moment they had to find someone to take their place.


Textiles of the 4th - 5th Century[1]

Nereids riding sea monsters. Fragments of four rows. Silk twill. 4th - 5th century. Sion Cathedral treasure. Formerly used as a reliquary cloth. There are other fragments in the Berlin and Zurich museums. Similar motifs in Alexandrian bone carvings suggest that the cloth may have been made in Eqypt. There are related fabrics with maenads in Sens, with horses in St. Maurice d’Agaune, and in Rimini.

Nilotic scene. Artistic panel. Wool on linen. Ca. 5th century. Louvre, Paris. Pagan motifs were frequently used by Coptic weavers, who developed them according to their own taste. The design includes children, nereids, fishermen, ducks, fish and lotus flower.

Two nereids; borders with birds. Length 1.43 meters. Wool on linen. Egyptian from Akhmim; 4th century. Collection Dumbarton Oaks, Washington. The Nereid on the bull-like animal might represent Europa with Jupiter, the other with the mirror perhaps Venus. Related to Egyptian wool-embroidered fabrics. Similar motifs are found in contemporary sculpture: reliefs from Ahnas in Coptic Museum in Cario or from Oxyrhynchus in Alexandria Museum.


Textiles of the 3rd - 4th Century[1]

Cloth with tapestry-woven bands with a design of vin tendrils and birds. Wool on linen. Egyptian, 3rd - 4th century Victoria and Albert Museum, London. There are related bands with similar Hellenistic designs and colors in, for example, Berlin.


Peacock. Rectangle panel. Wool on linen. Wide linen surround of looped weave. Egyptian, 4th century. Staatliche Museen, Berlin. There are related realistic animal subjects in Brussels and elsewhere. The panel is reminiscent of early designs like those in catacombs in Rome and Cyrene, but this particular design definitely does not have a Christian significance.

Head of Dionysus. One of a pair: in the other the head is looking in the opposite direction. Linen and wool. Egyptian, 3rd - 4th century. Textile Museum, Washington. The garland of vine leaves in the hair identifies it as Dionysus. Still completely Hellenistic in style.

Textiles of the 4th - 5th Century[1]

Orante. Fragment, probably of a wall hanging. Wool on linen. Looped weave. Egyptian 4th - 5th century. Textile Museum, Washington. The man, a saint or priest, wears a tunic decorated with a cruciform design and stands between two tall candlesticks (the left one missing). Between the candlestick and nimbus round his head are two letters. The technique employed links the fragment with earlier looped weaves, but there is a considerable degree of rigidity and stylization in the design. There is a similar piece from Akhmim in London.

The sacrifice of Isaac. Egyptian, 4th - 5th century. Cooper Union Museum, New York. Fragment with a powerful, fluid representation of a Biblical scene and an artistic pattern based on familiar motifs.

Artistic panel. Wool on linen. Egyptian, from Akhmim; 5th century. Collction Berard, Paris. Four vine leaves in a cruciform design are centered on a small square containing a male head. Christian symbolism has been imputed to this design.


Textiles of the 6th - 7th Century[1]

Senmur. Silk twill. From the reliquary of St. Leu in Paris. Sassanian, 6th - 7th century. Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The senmurv – like fish of the hippocampus type – was one of the most important Sassanian royal devices and it remained in constant use not only in post-Sassanian period (224-637 AD) but also in Byzantine fabrics. The motif also occurs in the reliefs at Taki Bostan (457 – 459/483) and in silver reliefs. There is a second piece in the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris.

Cock. Silk twill in superb condition. From a reliquary in the Sancta Sanctorum. Sassanian, 6th - 7th century. Museo Sacro, Vatican. The cock has a numbus and faces left. Between the surrounds are palmette motifs. In color this fabric is close to the Vatican pheasant material, but its design is reminiscent of Sassanian silver ware and of cliff reliefs at Taki Bostan. The freedom of design suggests the material was woven in Persia a little after the Sassanian period.

Patterned material of silk twill. Height 67 cm. Iranian(?), 6th - 7th century. Aaachen Cathedral treasure. Patterned fruit baskets with handles forming a medallion-like design. The strong luminous colors and the stylized plant motif indicate a Near Eastern origin, although no instance of similar fruit baskets has yet been found in Sassanian art.


Textiles of the 8th - 9th Century[1]

Annunciation. Artistic band of silk serge: double warp. From the Sancta Santorum, Rome. Syrian (?), 8th century. Museo Sacro, Vatican. In five colors. Two medallions have survived. The palmettes between the circles provide the clearest indication of the persistence of Sassanian influence. Otherwise, the band is very similar in style to the silks thought to have come from Syria. Perhaps it is the cloth that according to Liber Pontificalis was presented to Leo II (795 – 876).

Medallion with a quadriga design. Silk serge. From Charlemagne’s tomb in Aachen. Byzantine, 8th century. Aachen Cathedral treasure. Height 76 cm, diameter 66 cm. Another piece of this fabric is now in the Cluny Museum in Paris. The surround is decorated with heart-shaped flowers. On either side of the victorious charioteer is a servant with a whip and a garland. Underneath are two others distributing money (a symbol of generosity) as in Byzantine ivory consular diptychs. The subject is also reminiscent of the charioteer fabric in Brussels.

Medallion with elephant-strangler design; very fragmented. Silk serge. Byzantine, 9th century. Collection Dumbarton Oaks, Washington. The bottom half has been lost. This piece has much in common with the lion-strangler on St. Victor’s sudarium in Sens, but it is noticeably more mannered. This can be attributed to the influence of Islamic art. The motif itself is considerably older, occurring as it does in the art of ancient Babylon.


Textiles of the 10th - 11th Century[1]


The two images above belong to the same cloth and are that of a hippocampus and an elephant. Silk serge. Details of a large piece of material illustrating a hippocampi (senmurv), elephants and winged horses in contiguous medallions. Spanish, 11th century. Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence. Though this fabric uses all the favorite animal motifs of Sassanian art, it may still be a copy of a Byzantine piece. The elephant motif should be compared with the famous material from Charlemagne’s tomb in Aachen, and the winged horses with the fabric in the Vatican. There are other fragments of this cloth in Berlin, in Museo d’Arte Moderna in Barcelona and in Cooper Union Museum in New York.

Eagles. Purple silk serge. Fragment. Height 1.6 cm, Eagle 75 cm. Byzantine, ca. 1000. The sudarium of St. Germain. St. Eusebe, Auxerre. One of the most beautiful examples of the type of imperial eagle, which was also used to decorate the emperor’s reception rooms. It is very similar to the design on the chasuble in Bressanone. Double-headed eagles were also popular. There are examples of these in Vich, Berlin, Paris and in Abegg Foundation in Berne.

Griffon. Only the protome of the animal survived. Fragment from reliquary. Silk serge. Spanish, 10th - 11th century. Church treasure, Maastricht. Connected with the large lion fabrics in Cologne and Siegburg and the winged lion material in Amsterdam. Probably made in Byzantium.


Reference:
[1] W. F. Volbach, Early Decorative Textiles, Paul Hamlyn, New York (1969).