Sampler fragment with scrollsOn display
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Sampler fragment with scrolls
Material and technique
linen, embroidered with blue, yellow, and green silk; with remains of flax sewing thread
Dimensions23 / 17 threads/cm (thread count)
ground fabric 0.05 cm max. (thread diameter)
ground fabric 0.02 cm min. (thread diameter)
additional fibre, embroidery 0.05 cm (thread diameter)
No. of items
Presented by Professor Percy Newberry, 1941.
Museum locationLower ground floor | Gallery 5 | Textiles
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A sampler fragment with representations of various continuous scrolls.
There is a selvedge with remains of sewing thread at one end.
The textile has been radiocarbon dated to 1285 +/- 40.
In: Barnes, Ruth and Marianne Ellis, ‘The Newberry Collection of Islamic Embroideries’, 4 vols, 2001, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum
All the experimental designs on this small fragment of linen have been carried out in close counted herringbone stitch. Like pattern darning and double running, the stitches are worked evenly over and under a predetermined number of warp and weft threads of the ground fabric, but this technique is a faster method of covering the ground. As shown on the sampler, close counted herringbone stitch can be used in linear fashion, as for the continuous scroll design, or in rows to fill shapes. A close examination of the reverse side of the fragment reveals that the embroiderer made several attempts before discovering the best way to stitch a line of upright and reversed triangles without leaving long floating threads or tangles. This process is one familiar to present day embroiderers. Of the two recognisable patterns recorded in blue silk on the sampler, one is a scrolling stem design and the other is just one single foliate S.
In: Ellis, Marianne, Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, in association with Greenville: Curious Works Press, 2001)
Ellis, Marianne, Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, in association with Greenville: Curious Works Press, 2001), no. 35 on p. 53, pp. 54-55, illus. p. 53
Barnes, Ruth and Marianne Ellis, ‘The Newberry Collection of Islamic Embroideries’, 4 vols, 2001, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, vol. iii, vol. i