Crafting Textiles: Tablet Weaving, Sprang, Lace and Other Techniques from the Bronze Age to the Early 17th Century [Paperback]

Frances Pritchard(Editor)

ISBN: 9781789257595 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Ancient Textiles | Volume: 39 | Year of Publication: 2021 | 240p, H9.5 x W6.7, B/w and color
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Crafting Textiles


New research into the techniques of tablet weaving, sprang, braiding, knotting and lace is presented in this lavishly illustrated volume written by leading specialists from Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and USA. Drawing inspiration from the pioneering work of Peter Collingwood, this publication explores aspects of these craft skills in the prehistoric, Roman, and medieval world through scientific, object-based analysis and 'research through making'.

Chapters include the growth of patterned tablet weaving for trimming garments in prehistoric Central Europe; recently identified styles of headdress worn in the Roman Rhineland and pre-Islamic Egypt; Viking-age Dublin as a production center for tablet-woven bands; a new interpretation of the weaving technique used to make luxurious gold bands in the twelfth to late thirteenth centuries; and the development out of plaiting of bobbin lace borders in gold and silver threads from the fifteenth to early seventeenth centuries. Practical experiments test methods of hand spinning and the production of figure-hugging hose in ancient Greece and Renaissance Italy. A typology of braid and knotting structures in late medieval Europe is also set out for the first time. Diagrams, illustrations, and photographs enrich each chapter with a wealth of visual source material.

The work is the outcome of recent discoveries of archaeological textile finds from excavations as well as fresh examination of material recovered in the past, or preserved in treasuries. Early textiles form an increasingly popular subject of interest and this publication, which is a landmark in the study of various specialized textile techniques, aims to provide the reader with a better understanding of these virtuoso craft skills in antiquity.

Table of Contents



Contributor addresses

Section I: Tablet weaving

1. ‘Tablet weaving is a small byway of textile production…’ Bronze and Iron Age tablet bands with stripes, meanders and triangles from the salt mines in Austria

Karina Grömer

2. The use of weaving tablets in the production of headdresses in Egypt in the Roman and Byzantine periods. A study of a bourrelet from Antinoopolis

Claire Gérentet-de-Saluneaux, and Fabienne Médard

3. Evidence of tablet weaving from Viking-age Dublin

Frances Pritchard

4. The so-called Palermo Bands and their technique

Regula Schorta

Section II: Sprang

5. Hairnets with gold-tube beads from the Roman Rhineland and their textile technique

Petra Linscheid

6. Sprang hairnets from the necropolis of Fag el Gamous in the Fayum, Egypt

Anne Kwaspen and Kristin South

7. Tight-fitting Clothing in Antiquity and the Renaissance: Research and Experimental Reconstruction

Dagmar Drinkler and Carol James

Section III: Braiding and Lace making

8. Braided strings and Turk’s head knots on European secular and religious textiles

Joy Boutrup

9. A unique survival: A woman’s fifteenth-century headdress from Lengberg Castle, East Tyrol

Beatrix Nutz, Rachel Case, and Carol James

10. From narrow four-strand plaits to openwork bobbin-made braids and edgings

Lena Dahrén

Section IV: Spinning

11. The Story of the Twist – Handspinning as a Medieval Craft

Katrin Kania


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