The citadel and old city of Bam, Iran

BAM_IR2726 Taken from Wikimedia Commons.

The citadel and old city of Bam in Iran has been inhabited since the time of the Parthian Empire, which was between 247 B.C.E to 224 C.E. However, the city became an important stop on the silk and cotton trade route, specialising in garments sewn from the imported textiles during the 7th to 11th century C.E.

Bam has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as being one of the best fortified city and citadel built with layers of mud and mud bricks. It is also an oasis area of the Kerman Province with underground irrigation pipes that can be dated from the time of original settlement.

Unfortunately in 2003 there was a major earthquake that severely damaged the old city and citadel.
Destruction_of_the_Bam_Citadel Taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Since 2004 UNESCO and the Iranian Government have had a reconstruction plan in place to rebuild the city using traditional techniques with only a few modern additions.

A new embroidery chart with chevrons and diamond shapes

ashmoleanchevronsanddiamonds This textile is thought to have been made between the 10th and 15th century C.E. in Egypt. It is linen, embroidered in dark blue silk in double running stitch.

The dimensions are 5cm high by 12 cm wide. On the very right of the textile is the selvedge. The textile is currently in the Ashmolean Museum.

I have drawn up the chart. Let me know how it goes!

ashmoleanchevronanddiamonds pdf

Goldwork from 10th-12th century Egypt and Syria

fatimidgoldearrings10thcent These earring were thought to have been made between the 10th and 11th century in either Egypt or Syria. At the time the area was ruled by the Fatimid dynasty. The earrings are a combination of sheet, wire, filigree, and granulation work. The first earring is 6.4 cm high and 3.3 cm wide; the second is 6.7 cm high and 3.3 cm wide. The earrings are currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

fatimidgoldring11thcent This ring was thought to have been made in the 11th century in either Fatimid ruled Egypt or Syria. It is made of gold in sheets, decorated with filigree and granulation. The ring is 2.7 cm high and 2.5 cm wide. The diametre is 1.4 cm and the weight of the ring is 5.7 grams. The ring is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art where there are more pictures to see.

fatimidgoldpendant11thcent This pendant was also thought to have been made in the 11th century Egypt. It is a rare enamelled piece, made from gold sheet, decorated with filigree, wire work, and inset with turquoise. The enamel itself was later glued into place after the design had been finished. The pendant is 4.5 cm high and 3.5 cm wide. The pendant is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art where there are many other pictures, including one of the back.

ayyubidgoldbelt12thcent This gold belt buckle was thought to have been made in 12th century Syria, which at the time was ruled by the Ayyubid dynasty. It is 10cm long, made of twin plates to cover the end of the leather. The gold buckle has extruded knobs and bosses while the front plate is decorated with a cartouche of a falcon attacking a bird. It was sold by Christies for £17,250 (or $28,683).

Recommended reading

Near Eastern Jewelry: A Picture Book by Dimand, M. S. and H. E. McAllister. Available for download via the Met or read online through Google Books.

Mamluk jewelry: influences and echoes by Jenkins, M. As published in Muqarnas: An Annual on Islamic Art and Architecture, Vol 3.

Islamic Jewelry in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Jenkins, M. and Keene, M. Available for download via the Met or read online through Google Books.

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.
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.

An embroidery once more

ashmoleanquartrefoilsandsquares This textile was thought to have been made between the 10th and 15th centuries in Egypt. It is linen, embroidered in blue and pink silk in a quartrefoil pattern linked by squares. There is also a rolled hem in yellow silk at the bottom of the textile.

The textile is 24 cm by 13 cm. Thread count of the linen is 22 threads per cm. The embroidered band itself is 7.3 cm. It is currently in the Ashmolean Museum.

There is a chart of the design here-
ashmoleanquartrefoilsandsquares PDF

Let me know how it goes!

The cross of Timotheus

crosstimotheus14thcent This is an iron Bishop’s cross, found in 1967 in a crypt in the cathedral in Qasr Ibrim. The Bishop that was buried was named Timotheus and the cross was a symbol of his authority.

The cross is 54 cm long. It was found over the breast of the Bishop, who had also been buried with two scrolls in Coptic and Arabic. One of the scrolls was his appointment scroll from the Coptic Patriarch which bears the date 1371 C.E. Timotheus died before he could he could take up the office, and had been buried not in his robes of office but his travelling clothes. The cross is currently in the British Museum.

Recommended reading
The clothes that Bishop Timotheus was wearing was covered in an article by Elizabeth Crowfoot but I am unable to access it. However, a Scadian named Heather Rose Jones had read the book and created a doll based on the descriptions of the clothes. The page can be read here-

The garb patterns have also been created by C. Mellor and can be seen on his Pinterest page-

Silk in Ancient Nubia: one road, many sources by Adams, N. PDF document through digital commons.

The Church in Africa, 1450-1950 by Adrian Hastings. Via Google books.

Medieval Nubia: A Social and Economic History by Giovanni Ruffini. Via Google books.

Medieval Nubia. A site for the promotion of information about Medieval Nubia, including translations of texts.

A new complex double running embroidery

ashmoleaneightpointedstar This embroidered textile was made in Egypt between the 10th and 15th century C.E. It is even weave linen, 13 cm by 7.5 cm and embroidered in blue and brown silk in double running stitch. The design has a central eight pointed star, surrounded in squares with crosses and blue triangles. The main design is edged with continuous vines.

The textile is currently in the Ashmolean Museum.

It is my opinion that the embroidery is closer to the 15th century than the 10th. I have charted up the design and would love to know how it goes!

ashmoleaneightpointstar PDF