This is a piece of blackwork embroidery from Egypt or Arabia. Made between the 13th to 16th centuries, it is linen embroidered with red and blue silk. The size is 15 cm by 6 cm, with the fabric selvage visible at the top of the picture.
I have charted up the design-
The item is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
This embroidery is in the University of Manchester. There is very little information on the website about the textile, except that it is from Egypt, made from linen and was made between the years 1100-1499 C.E. It resembles Mamluk embroidery to my eye, which is from the early 13th century. Just for a challenge, I have charted it up! It has both double running and pattern darning.
Please let me know how it works for you.
I was reading a book called “The Art of Embroidery” by Marie Schuette & Sigrud Muller-Christensen, published 1963 by Thomas & Hudson, London. On page 32, on the top right was a Mamluk blackwork. The detail of the picture- There is not much information in the book on the embroidery. All that is given is that it is a fragment of a robe, the actual size 56 by 42cm, in the Berlin Staatliches Museum. It is done in dark gray silk on linen in running and double-running stitch. It is one of the more complex Mamluk blackwork I have seen, with no information on where on a robe it would go. I have charted up the design, which is available for download in single page PDF format.
Please let me know how your embroidery goes.
Over a year ago, I charted a towel from the Ashmolean. This work can be downloaded from the original post “A Blackwork Challenge” or on the embroidery charts page. Recently I found another Mamluk towel, around a century older, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
The textile fragment is thought to have been made between the 13th-14th century, with the dimensions of 9.9 cm by 18.7 cm. It is very similar to the other towel I have previously charted but there are some noticeable differences. As the picture is not a colour picture, the colour of the silk used is unknown but would have been a dark colour. Possibly blue or brown. It looks as though there is a tiraz under the birds and trees. If you can read it, please give a translation. I can’t read Arabic but I have a suspicion that it is a decorative tiraz and not to be read.
The chart is a single page PDF document.
Met towel PDF
Please let me know how your embroidery goes.
This sampler is in the Victoria & Albert Museum. It is a blackwork and pattern darning sampler from between the 14th and 16th centuries. The height is 42.5 cm and the width is 22.8 cm. Linen with silk embroidery. I have charted up the embroidery, and even made a few exemplars of the embroidery. However, some of this sampler has been previously charted by Mathilde Eschenbach, who has kindly allowed me to refer straight to her individual charts, some of which differ to mine. Both interpretations will be put up & referred to, to encourage everyone! The charts from myself are available for download, one page pdf document.
This pattern has some fine darning in it, which is similar to pattern darning, only with single stitches. This makes the pattern reversible. Ottoman embroidery also uses fine darning.
This was also done by Mathile Eschenbach.
Also done by Mathilde Eschenbach.
I left mine as what was on the sampler, as I believe that the right hand tree and cat are done incorrectly and incomplete. However, Mathilde Eschenbach has a complete interpretation.
Mathilde Eshenbach’s interpretation.
I would love to hear from everyone their opinions on the different charts.
As the Shire of Krae Glas has now been made into a Barony and with the King and Queen of Lochac there, some gifts were made by myself to welcome them all.
Please excuse the fuzziness, I thought I had focussed properly…
This is the back of the kerchief, showing that it is reversible, even the cross stitch. This is based on a chart I had done previously on a third Blackwork Challenge. One of the easiest Blackwork I have done, while looking quite good. Black silk on linen, which has a higher thread count than the original 13th century kerchief. The kerchief was wrapped around two begleri, made of smoky quartz. All four begleri took me an evening to make and fiddle around with.
Really sorry about the fuzziness. I based the begleri on designs found on Culture Taste. The new Baron and Baroness of Krae Glas got a kerchief in the colours of Krae Glas-
This was based on Mathilde Eschenbach’s charted pattern from a doll’s robe. Here is the back and a good way to see the details of the golden thread-
The new B&B also got begleri, but theirs was red tiger eye.
I wish all them all the best with their gifts. If you want more information on begleri, please look at the Tasbih, misbaha, komboloi and begleri post.
This is a Mamluk kerchief embroidered with blackwork. It is linen with blue silk, 25 x 24.5 cm. The linen count is 22 threads per centimetre. It is currently in the Ashmolean.
I have charted the kerchief. I think the pattern would be reversible, as most of the Mamluk designs are. Please let me know how it turns out for you.
Mamluk kerchief 1250
I made a small embroidered wrapping cloth, out of linen with silk embroidery to give to the King & Queen of Lochac at Winter Feast in Stormhold. I used one of the sampler designs I charted last year. It is up on the Guild to download, so please go to a Second Blackwork Challenge.
It took me just under two weeks of fairly intensive sewing. The sampler had it in blue silk, but I used black. I found it an easy pattern to work out, but quite repetitive.
This is the back of the fabric and the pattern is reversible. I am not the best joiner, however!. It was wrapped around a small jar of Lebanese coffee. I am thinking I may have included some instruction on how to brew said coffee though…
The Skill of the Two Hands by Caroline Stone. From Saudi Aramco World.
If you have read Marianne Ellis’s book Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt (which is also available on the Ashmolean site), you may be familiar with this sampler-
It is done in double running stitch, in blue silk on linen. At the bottom there is open work, with an illegible tiraz. The fashion for tiraz was as time moved on into later eras, it became less of an embroidered text and more of a pattern that resembled text.
I have been ill recently, so have muddled my way through charting these patterns. In the sampler, the first three patterns are repeated, though I am unsure why. The 4th and 5th are only done once, but the 4th is quite complex, and the 5th with some strange hooks. I am referring to the second hook under the left handed cross, which does not follow the other hooks from above the left handed cross. Another interesting thing to note that while my chart doesn’t show it, it was done from left to right. Arabic, like Hebrew, goes from right to left but if you zoom in on the very right hand side of that design, the crosses have been reduced to fit the fabric.
The 6th design is repeated twice, and the 7th is repeated three times (though on the sampler itself the silk has faded substantially). The 7th design is interesting in that it is a repeating pattern but a long one. There are two separate “s” motifs. As the designs are laid out on the sampler, the flatter “s” design sits above the other “s” design and below it, only for the other “s” design to do the same the next set along. If you are curious, please go to the third link on this page. It will take you to the sampler page at the Ashmolean where if the “zoom” button is clicked on, it is possible to zoom into individual stitches.
1345 Sampler Mamluk (pdf)
Please let me know what you think of it, and your trials of the charts.