Roundel fragment with interlacing vines and leaves

Details

  • Catalogue text

    A large roundel with green and red interlaced vine and leaf appliqué on a brown ground.

    White flax couching stitches are embroidered around the appliqué patterns.

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

    At the centre of the roundel an 8-pointed star has been created by two interlaced cruciform designs in red and green stems, which develop into flowing curved patterns of palmettes and leaves as they move away from the centre. A remarkably similar, but simpler version of this stellar design occurs on a bowl with incised decoration from Fustat, which has been attributed to the 13th or 14th century (\/ictoria and Albert Museum, London, No. C.162-1932), proving yet again that motifs were repeated from one medium to another. What it does not tell is who was copying whom and whether cartoons existed to guide the craftsmen at this period.

    The roundel is made of a type of patchwork known as 'inlay' in which pieces of cloth are cut to shape and inserted into similar pre-cut areas of ground fabric. The same process was followed with ivory or bone shapes inlaid into wood, popular at this time in Egypt. In Iran colourful textiles have been made in inlaid patchwork since at least the 17th century and are generally referred to as Resht work. The technique was much used for hangings and further decoration was added by lines of tamboured chain stitch to cover the joins of the shapes. Here thick white linen thread has been couched down for the same reason and clearly defines the flowing lines of the design.

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

Further reading

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

Ellis, Marianne, Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, in association with Greenville: Curious Works Press, 2001), no. 50 on p. 72, p. 10, illus. pp. 72-73

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