Fragments and panels

Fragments and panels

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London holds a pair of embroidered sleeve or trouser cuffs from Armenia, dated to the nineteenth century. They are made of wool with coloured silk threads.

The Early Bronze Age burial mound of Skrydstrup, southern Jutland, Denmark, has yielded a very early example of needlelace, from the sleeve and neckline of a garment buried together with a young woman in an oak coffin. The burial mound was excavated in 1935 and the remains have been dated to c. 1300 BC.  

The Textile Research Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands, has an embroidered panel (32 x 10 cm) intended for a Miao woman's jacket. It is half finished, and so it is easy to see the paper template that forms the basis of the design.

The Textile Research Centre in Leiden, the Netherlands, holds an embroidered panel (82 x 44 cm) that most likely derives from, or from near the town of Mansehra, in the Hazara Division, of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, in northern Pakistan. The cotton and silk panel dates to the early twentieth century.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses an embroidered panel that originates from pre-Columbian Peru and has been dated to the period 500-100 BC. The embroidery is carried out in wool on a cotton ground, and worked in stem stitch. The fragment measures 11 x 8.5 cm.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses an embroidered panel from Russia, dating to c. 1700. It measures 71.2 x 43.2 cm. The ground material is made of silver thread and cotton, and the embroidery is worked in couched silver-gilt thread and chenille silks. The embroidery includes floral motifs and a bunch of grapes.

The Textile Research Centre in Leiden, the Netherlands, holds an embroidered panel (TRC 2018.2744) that originates from the north of Pakistan, in the Hazara Division, which lies east of the Indus river, and which forms part of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province (TRC 2018.2744). The capital of the Hazara Division is Abbottabad.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam houses a medieval Egyptian textile fragment with embroidered decoration. The ground material is linen, the embroidery is carried out in silk, with pulled thread work, double running stitch and satin stitch. The fragment dates to the late medieval, Mamluk period. It measures 28 x 10 cm.

A small group of entangled and embroidered silk strips were recovered from Dunhuang in western China. They are now housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (acc. no. LOAN: Stein.518). It was discovered by the Hungarian/British explorer Sir Aurel Stein (1862-1943) in the early twentieth century (1907), and derives from what is called Cave 17 of the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang.

The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, houses a fragment of multi-coloured, embroidered yellow silk that dates to c. 1500 and probably derives from the Ottoman empire (and not from Iran, as suggested in the Rijksmuseum catalogue). The fragment measures 34 x 33 cm.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam houses a fragment of dark silk with embroidery in red, silver and yellow. It probably derives from Germany and was made in the mid-seventeenth century. It measures 17 x 20.5 cm. Half beads have been sewn in between the embroidered motifs.

Hedeby, or Haithabu in German, is a site located in Schleswig-Holstein, in the extreme north of Germany, along the Danish border. In the Viking age it was an important maritime centre. Excavations at the site started in 1900. Finds from the site are exhibited in the Wikinger Museum Haithabu. The site yielded many fragments of textiles, but no clear evidence of decorative needlework.

The Textile Research Centre (TRC), Leiden, houses an embroidered panel from among the people of the Hmong in mainland Southeast Asia. It measures 41.5 x 36.5 cm. It was acquired in 1991 in California, USA, during a special meeting set up to support Hmong refugees.

Small fragments of an embroidered woollen chemise were discovered at the cemetery of Hohmichele, near the hillfort of Heuneburg, in southern Germany. The burial ground is dominated by an 85 metre high tumulus, which contained a number of burials. The tumulus was first excavated between 1936 and 1938, and again between 1954 and 1956.

Excavations into Viking-period levels at York, northern England, yielded only one example of embroidery. It was found on a small bag that dates to the late tenth or early eleventh century. The bag has an outercover of red silk samite, perhaps imported from Byzantium. It is decorated with a crude silk cross, in what appears to be chain stitch or stem stitch.

A woman's grave excavated 1863-1864 at Kempston, Bedforshire, UK, contained a relic box (Box. No. 141) that yielded a fragment of purple, woollen embroidery, dated to the seventh century AD. It has been classed as the earliest extant piece of Anglo-Saxon embroidery. The same grave also contained the so-called Kempston Beaker.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a border of a kerchief that derives from Russia and dates to the eighteenth century. It is made of green cotton decorated with motifs that are outlined in gilt thread and worked in satin stitch. There are embroidered floral motifs in red, pink, silver and green, and alternate panels of applied gilt embroidery, decorated with embroidered floral sprays.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, houses a small fragment of a kimono that dates to the late sixteenth or early seventeenth centuries. It is made of monochrome figured satin silk (rinzu) with applied gold leaf decoration (surihaku, tie-dyeing (kanoko shibori) and embroidery with silk and metal threads. The fragment measures 58.5 x 30 cm.

The collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam includes a fragment of white silk with polychrome floral embroidery. It dates to c. 1680 and probably was made in Holland. It measures 21.7 x 18.2 cm. The V-shape may indicate its use as a stomacher.

The Mammen embroideries were discovered in 1868 at the mound of Bjerringhøj, near the village of Mammen, near Viborg, Denmark. The site has become particularly famous for the discovery of the so-called 'Mammen axe'.The embroideries and other finds were discovered in a chamber-grave of a man who was buried in the winter of AD 970-971.

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