Textile fragment with geometric patterns

Details

  • Catalogue text

    Bands with single rows of chevrons intersect to define two squares, with possibly further squares originally to follow. The chevrons are similar to those of EA1984.554. One of the squares has two rows of larger chevrons, one of which has a double outline; both have trefoil finials. The second square is filled with a large four-armed spiral with a small identical spiral at its centre. The background is embroidered in very small blue chevron lines.

    The textile has a selvedge.

    In: Barnes, Ruth and Marianne Ellis, ‘The Newberry Collection of Islamic Embroideries’, 4 vols, 2001, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum

    This embroidery is all worked in the double running stitch that became so fashionable for decorating both garments and household linen in 16th century Europe. The pattern with zigzag lines supporting little pendants is interesting because it is so like two published in early German pattern books, where acorn or bud motifs have been substituted for the Mamluk trefoils in one example and crosses in another to suit European taste. The other pattern based on zigzags within vertical and horizontal borders is similar to one on band sampler No.28 [EA1984.488], but instead of a continuous line of zigzags just one element has been repeated, giving quite a different visual effect.

    Double running is usually classified now as an outline stitch, and one of its many modern names is two-sided line. However on this fragment it has been used both for outlines and also as a filling stitch to cover the background triangles with dense geometric patterns. This has the effect of throwing the two whirling rosettes into relief and creating a feeling of movement. This small fragment demonstrates the exceptional ability of the designers of the period to create stunning geometric patterns.

    In: Ellis, Marianne, Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, in association with Greenville: Curious Works Press, 2001)

Further reading

Ellis, Marianne, Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, in association with Greenville: Curious Works Press, 2001), no. 29 on p. 46, illus. p. 47

Barnes, Ruth and Marianne Ellis, ‘The Newberry Collection of Islamic Embroideries’, 4 vols, 2001, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, vol. iii, vol. i

Reference URL

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