A mixed sampler in the V&A Museum

2006AP0988 This textile is a linen sampler embroidered with silk. Made between the 15th-16th century in Egypt, it is 21cm high and 16.5cm wide. The textile was found in an Egyptian burial ground and was likely to have been the work of professional embroiderers. It is a mix of double running stitch and pattern darning. The textile is currently in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

I have charted up seven of the designs on the textile, although the textile had more designs that are no longer there. The layout-
The charts are in pdf format-
vandamixedsamplerpattern1 (pdf)
vandamixedsampler2 (pdf)
vandamixedsampler3 (pdf)
vandamixedsampler4 (pdf)
vandamixedsampler5 (pdf)
vandamixedsampler6 (pdf)
vandamixedsampler7 (pdf)

Let me know how the embroidery goes!

Ottoman children’s Memento Mori

In 1595, Mehmet III in taking the throne of his father Murad III, ordered the execution of his 19 brothers. While this was done to stop any civil turmoil over the inheritance of the throne, it caused a backlash and was never repeated.

These kaftans were placed over the grave of the boys.
vandachildkaftanzigzag This kaftan is 83 cm high, with a hem line of 78.2 cm. It is made of brocaded silk with zigzags filled with cintāmaṇi. It is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

CIS:752A-1884 This kaftan is is brocaded silk and gold wrapped thread in roundel patterns. The kaftan is currently on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

vandachildkaftancresent This kaftan has a height of 79.8 cm and a hem line of 79.8 cm. It is currently in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

vandachildkaftantulip This kaftan has a height of 76.7 cm and a hem line length of 50.2 cm. It is made of silk lampas, with metal wrapped silk thread woven throughout. It is currently in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

vandachildkaftantiger This kaftan is a silk lampas weave in a tiger stripe pattern. It has a length of 71 cm and a hem line length of 78.5 cm. It is currently in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Recommended reading
The Renaissance and the Ottoman World edited by Anna Contadini, Claire Norton. Via Google Books.

Courtly Encounters: Translating Courtliness and Violence in Early Modern Eurasia edited by
Sanjay Subrahmanyam. Via JStor.

Islamic textiles & dress reading list as suggested by the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The Rålamb Costume Book via the National Library of Sweden.

A grid of lozenges embroidery

ashmoleanlozengegrid This textile was thought to have been made between the 10th and 15th centuries in Egypt. The textile is 15 cm by 11cm linen, embroidered in dark blue silk.

The textile is in the Ashmolean Museum.

I have charted up my interpretation of the embroidery.

ashmoleanlozengegrid (pdf)

Please let me know how it goes.

The veil of Hisham II

veilofhishamii This textile, thought to have been a veil, was found in a reliquary in the Santa María del Rivero church alter. It had been wrapped around the item in the reliquary but the textile has now been restored.

It is 109 cm long and 18 cm wide base fabric of linen with the decoration a silk & linen tapestry weave. It has tiraz bands in the decoration, with the inscription of-

“In the name of god the indulgent, the merciful”

as well as-

“May divine blessing, prosperity and long life be attributed to the imam, god’s servant, Hisham, he who is the object of his benevolence, the emir of all believers.”

Tiraz detail-
The kufic tiraz talks of Hisham, a 10th-11th century Caliph that ruled Cordoba during the Umayyad era. The animals in the tapestry woven roundels are birds and cats- hishamveilroundeldetail
The textile can be seen through the Qantara website although the textile is in the Real Academia de la Historia in Madrid.

Recommended reading
Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain edited Jerrilyn Dodds. Available to read online at the Internet Archive.
The Origin and Early Development of Floriated Kūfic by Adolf Grohmann. JStor article.
Material for a History of Islamic Textiles up to the Mongol Conquest by R. B. Serjeant. JStor article.
Ṭirāz Textiles from Egypt: Production, Administration and Uses of Ṭirāz Textiles from Egypt Under the Umayyad, ʻAbbāsid and Fāṭimid Dynasties by Jochen Sokoly. Phd thesis.

Possible turban cloth or sash

ashmoleanlinkedquatrefoilssash This textile was thought to have been made in Egypt between the 10th-15th century C.E. It is linen embroidered with blue silk and metal wrapped with silver. The textile also has three rolled hems with silk. It is thought to be either a sash or a turban cloth.

The textile is in the Ashmolean Museum.

I have charted up the embroidery and it is available for download as a pdf document.

ashmoleanlinkdquatrefoilssash (pdf)

Let me know how your embroidery goes.

Stuffed cookies

This is an Arts and Sciences entry into the Barony of Krae Glas’ Twilight Tourney.

A dessert served on a Constantinople table

Entry by Miriam bat Shimeon.

Based on “A recipe for stuffed cookies (halwa mahshuwwa), delicious and unusual (tarifa)”:

Take equal amounts almonds, pistachio and hazelnut. Shell them finely ground them and add equal amount of sugar. Miz and moisten the ingredients with rose water you have dissolved a lump of musk.

Make dough with fine smidh flour (high in starch and bran free), milk, sesame oil and yeast. When dough ferments, flatten portions into small discs, using a rolling pin. Line a concave mold (qalab) carved into decorative shapes (suwar al-tamathil) with a flattened disc and fill the cavity with some of the sugar nut mixture. Put another flattened disc on the filling and seal the edges. Take the cookie out of the mold [and repeat with the rest of the dough].

[Bake the cookies] by sticking them to the inner wall of the tannur. Alternatively you can arrange them in a shallow copper pan with a handle similar to that of a bucket (satl). Lower the pan into the tannur and cover its upper opening with a lid for a short while [to create moisture then remove it]. When the cookies are done, [take them out and] serve them while still hot.

You also have the choice to put some fat in the pan [before lowering it into the tannur]. When the cookies come out of the oven and while still hot, dip them in ‘asal mutaffa [purified honey in boiled water] which has been skimmed and scented with aromatic spices (mutayyab). Let the cookies absorb the syrup then take then out and arrange them on a platter. Sprinkle them with sugar and serve them. This variety (hadha al-fann) is called raghunin ratb muluki (royal moist cookies), so know this, God willing.”

This recipe comes from the Annals of the Caliph’s Kitchens as translated by Nawal Nasrallah (page 426-7). This is a translation of a 10th century cookbook called the al Baghdadi. It was written by a man named Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq with only a few manuscripts around, the most whole manuscript being a copy dated 1270 in the Topkapi Saray Museum in Istanbul.

The stuffing-
100g ground almonds
100g ground pistachios
100g ground hazelnuts
100g raw caster sugar
7ml rose water
I blitz them all together in a mixer, until they looked like fine breadcrumbs.

The dough-
3c plain flour
2 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
7g powdered yeast
2 tablespoon sesame oil
200g warm water
1 tablespoon milk

I put all these ingredients into my bread making machine on the pizza dough setting. These values are based on recommended recipes from the instruction manual. It took 2 hours to make the dough. I didn’t rest it, as the recipe states the dough is used straight away. I had a wooden mold, which had been washed and oiled with sesame oil. I then used this to form the cookies. img_0816 This is it, being oiled with sesame oil.

img_0818 This is it in the process of being stuffed. It is around one heaped teaspoon of the nut and sugar mixture.

I placed them on a tray and baked them. At the pastry setting on my oven for just over ten minutes at 200 degrees. I glazed them with melted butter as the recipe calls for a fat. img_0819

The syrup-
100ml water
100ml honey
1 teaspoon mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice.

Boiled together in a pot, although most honey now has been pasteurised and therefore no need to skim. img_0820

The syrup was poured hot over the cookies, which aids the absorption. They were then sprinkled with raw caster sugar lightly.
img_0821 This is the cookies half glazed.

Things for next time
1)The dough (being yeast based) must be baked immediately. I left some waiting to be baked on the tray and they now look like scones.
2)The dough must be rolled out very thinly. Very elastic dough- it pulled back as soon as it was cut.
3)Drop the nut mixture right down. The total could be 50:50:50:50 with 2ml rosewater so less leftover.

Sorry there is no picture for the serving but they all vanished within 15 minutes! Best served hot. For this entry I won a ring from the hand of Baroness Elspeth Caerwent herself.

“Annals of the Caliph’s Kitchen” translated by Nawal Nasrallah. Brill, 2010. ISBN: 9789004188112.

A diagonal embroidery with vines and hooks

vinesandhooks This textile was made between the 10th-15th centuries in Egypt. It is linen embroidered in blue flax. The size is 38 cm by 20 cm. The item is currently in the research collection of the Ashmolean Museum.

I have charted up the design, which can be downloaded as a pdf document-
vinesandhooks (PDF)
Let me know how the embroidery goes!