Four Seljuk embroideries in the Cleveland Museum of Art

12thcentseljuktiraz This textile was thought to have been made in either Iran or Iraq during the time of the Seljuk Empire. The base fabric is mulham (silk warp thread with cotton weft thread) woven into a tabby or plain weave. The embroidery is a tiraz, sewn in silk and gold metal thread with the dimensions being 6cm high and 19.7cm wide. The textile’s accession number is 1950.560.

seljuk12thcentembroidery This textile was thought to have been made in the 12th century in either Iraq or Iran. Like the previous textile, it is also mulham tabby weave embroidered with silk and gold metal thread. The dimensions are 14.6cm high and 8cm wide. This textile’s accession number is 1950.561.

seljuk12thcentroundelembroidery This textile is also like the other textiles- mulham tabby weave with silk and gold metal embroidery from the 12th century. The dimensions are 7cm high and 23.5cm wide in a roundel design with a bird in the centre. The accession number is 1950.562 with another view of the textile available on the page.

12thcentseljukbirdembroidery This textile is the same as the previous- mulham tabby weave with silk and gold metal embroidery. The dimensions are 7.3cm high and 21.6 cm wide. The accession number is 1950.533 with another view of the textile available on the site.

Recommended Reading
Ars Islamica, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1934. Via the Internet Archive.

Ancient Silk Textiles in the Land of Israel by Shamir O. and Baginski A. in Resist Dye on the Silk road: Shibori, Clamp Resist and Ikat. Proceeding of the 9th International Shibori Symposium in Hangzhou, China. Pp. 25-31. Via

Tiraz: Textiles and Dress with Inscriptions in Central and Southwest Asia by Margaret Anne Deppe. PDF file.

A double running cotton embroidery

ashmoleandiamondsandtriangles This textile was made in Egypt between the 10th and 15th centuries C.E. It is a base fabric of plain woven linen, with the dimensions of 29.5 cm high and 13 cm wide. It is embroidered in cotton, in double running stitch. The textile had been torn at some stage and badly repaired with flax thread. Both of the embroidery themselves are 2 cm wide and 6.5 cm wide. Currently the textile is in the Ashmolean Museum.

It is a very striking design, with a chart available for download in pdf format-

ashmoleandiamondsandtriangles pdf

Let me know how the chart works for you.

An embroidery of interlacing chevrons and Maltese crosses

interlacingchevronsandcrosses This embroidered textile was found in Egypt. It is linen embroidered in blue flax and red silk and was thought to have been made between the 10th and 15th century C.E. The length is 18 cm and the width is 9 cm. The embroidery is mainly in blue flax, with some red silk being seen on the edges of the embroidery. The textile is currently in the Ashmolean Museum.

I have charted up the design. It is available in PDF format for download.

ashmoleaninterlacingchevronsandcrosses PDF

I would love to know how it embroiders up!

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.