The veil of Sainte Anne

veilofstanne This textile is known as the veil of Sainte Anne, which is kept in the basilica of Sainte Anne in Apt, France. The legend had it that the veil was found in a vault under the basilica.

However, it is a textile that originated from Damietta in Fatimid Egypt, in the 11th century C.E. It is 310 cm wide and 152 cm high, made from linen with tapestry woven roundels of animals, mythical animals, plants and tiraz.
veilofsaintannedetail
It is now thought to have been plunder of the 1st Crusade, although the first mention of it in the records in Apt is 1714. It is very well preserved, as it is mostly stored in a glass flask unless it is the Sainte Anne´s feast day. The selvages are on both sides of the fabric, so was woven with the width of 310 cm. It has three tapestry woven designs, made from silk and gold thread. The large roundel reads-

Alī is the friend of God; may God bless him. Imam Abu-l-Qāsim al-Musta’lī billah, emir of the Believers, may God bless him, his pure-hearted ancestors and his very worthy descendants

The tiraz on the sides reads-

This is what was made in the private weaving factory at Damietta in the year ….9

which isolates the date to either 1096 or 1097 C.E.

The textile is thought to be a back of a khila´ or ceremonial gifted robe known as an ‘abā which is a sleeveless coat.

Recommended reading
Writing Signs: The Fatimid Public Text by Irene A. Bierman. Via Google Books.

The veil of Saint Anne by H. A. Elsberg and R. Guest. The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, Vol. 68, No. 396 (Mar., 1936), pp. 140+144-145+147. Via JStor.

Symbols of Power by Louise Mackie. Via Google Books.

Qantara: Veil of Saint Anne.

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2 comments on “The veil of Sainte Anne

  1. Matistsat says:

    Well, I’m discovering Something very important … I’m livin nearby Apt in France and very often visit the chaptel dedicated to Sainte Anne (Ste and not St … She is a Lady …) and have never been taught anything concerning her veil …

    Thank you very much for blessing me with this important discovery …

    May I add that I’m very much interested in your publications, all relating to material and embroideries of the old ages. Thank you for all you teach me …

    Happy New Year …..

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