Woven Threads: Patterned Textiles of the Aegean Bronze Age [Hardback]

Maria C. Shaw(Editor); Anne. P. Chapin(Editor)

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ISBN: 9781785700583 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Ancient Textiles | Volume: 22 | Year of Publication: 2016 | Language: English 264p, H9.7 x W7.4, color illustrations
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Woven Threads


Woven textiles are produced by nearly all human societies. This volume investigates evidence for patterned textiles (that is, textiles woven with elaborate designs) that were produced by two early Mediterranean civilizations: the Minoans of Crete and the Mycenaeans of mainland Greece, that prospered during the Aegean Bronze Age, c. 3000–1200 BC, contemporary with Pharaonic Egypt. Both could boast of specialists in textile production. Together with their wine, oil, and art, Minoan and Mycenaean textiles were much desired as trade goods. Artistic images of their fabrics preserved both in the Aegean and in other parts of the Mediterranean show elaborate patterns woven with rich decorative detail and color. Only a few small scraps of textiles survive but evidence for their production is abundant and frescoes supply detailed information about a wide variety of now-lost textile goods from luxurious costumes and beautifully patterned wall hangings and carpets, to more utilitarian decorated fabrics. A review of surviving artistic and archaeological evidence indicates that textiles played essential practical and social roles in both Minoan and Mycenaean societies.

Table of Contents


1 Spinning Ariadne’s Thread: An Introduction to Sources and Methodologies
Anne P. Chapin
2 Bronze Age Aegean Cloth Production: A Cottage Industry No More
Brendan Burke and Anne P. Chapin
3 Patterned Textiles as Costume in Aegean Art
Suzanne Peterson Murray
4 Palace and Household Textiles in Aegean Bronze Age Art
Maria C. Shaw and Anne P. Chapin
5 Textile and Stone Patterns in the Painted Floors of the Mycenaean Palaces
Emily C. Egan
6 Sailing the Shining Sea: Maritime Textiles of the Bronze Age Aegean
Maria C. Shaw and Anne P. Chapin
7 String Lines, the Artist’s Grid, and the Representation of Textiles in Fresco
Maria C. Shaw
8 Minoans, Mycenaeans, and Keftiu
Elizabeth J. W. Barber
9 Observations, Summaries, and Conclusions
Anne P. Chapin

Consolidated Bibliography

Reviews & Quotes

"The core idea—and it is a very good one—is to investigate how the elaborate patterned textiles that appear in Minoan and related artistic traditions might have been produced. This volume provides a convincing body of evidence and scholarship to demonstrate that almost all of them could have been made with the tools available to Bronze Age weavers, particularly in the setting of palatial workshops... Scholars of the later Bronze Age Aegean will find this a useful volume."
Lin Foxhall
(91 357 (2017))

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