Cloud collar!

Sorry for not posting this sooner, but mundane life has been distracting me from the pure research. So I thought to get everything rolling by posting the product of previous research. Having done research into Persian cloud collars in 2015 (the post can be read at “My own Persian cloud collar research”) and having commissioned two Persian Timurid coats through my friend at Mikhaila’s Unmentionables, I finally followed through with embroidery plans.

I decided to do a collar that sat proud of the coat, but was attached at the neck. First step is to create a template.

The third template design, which can be done up & go around the neck.


Having settled on the template, I used two layers of silk and linen which would eventually be lined with white linen.

This is two layers, sewn quickly together and marked out with a soluble pen.


The design itself is quite complex scrolling. The stitch I chose to work in Au ver a Soie indigo silk thread was stem stitch. I eventually regretted this choice, as it was painful on the hands.

This stage took quite a while to get to. I had given myself a deadline of 12th Night.


The final result-

The collar the night before the event. Still damp from preparations.


I entered it into the Lochac Arts & Sciences competition with the topic of “from the Middle East”. I won!

A Sogdiana roundel


This textile was from either Eastern Iran or Sogdiana. Dated to the 8th-9th century C.E., it is a woven silk with the dimensions of 34cm by 44 cm. Seam visible on right of textile. Currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, although not currently on view.

Very similar roundel to previously posted Sogdian textiles in the post An early period Sogdiana coat.

Recommended reading
Cochineal Red: The Art History of a Color by Elena Phipps. Met publications, 2010. PDF available for download through link.

Costume of the Samarkand Region of Sogdiana between the 2nd/lst Century BCE and the 4th Century CE by Fiona Kidd. Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 2003, page 35-69. Available through Academia.edu.

Ritual and Identity in Sogdiana by Melinda Niekum. Via Academia.edu.

A textile in the V&A

This textile was made in Egypt between 1250 and 1500 C.E. It is linen, embroidered with red silk in two distinct patterns. It is 14 cm by 19 cm. There are two rolled hems on the left and right sides. It is thought that it is a possible scarf or girdle. The textile is in the V&A Museum, Accession number 804-1898. The embroidery at the bottom of the textile is almost the same design as a textile in the Ashmolean, which can be read about in a previous post “A new embroidery chart with chevrons and diamond shapes”.

I have charted the top design. It is available as a pdf.
vandazigzags PDF

Let me know how you find it!

Women’s garb in the Maqâmât of al-Ḥarîrî

All images taken from one manuscript of the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s copy of the Les Maqâmât d’Aboû Moḥammad al-Qâsim ibn ʿAlî al-Ḥarîrî, known as manuscript Arabe 3929. The Maqâmât (or “Assemblies”) are 50 stories, written in the mid 13th century C.E. in northern Syria. The prose is written in the style known as saj’, meant to be learnt by rote and recited to others by heart.

This image of of the hero of the story Abu Zayd (on the right of the image) and his wife. This is Image f40 in the manuscript.

This image is Abu Zayd and his wife being arrested. Taken from Image f49 in the manuscript.

Abu Zayd appearing as an old woman. Taken from Image f85 in the manuscript.

Another picture of Abu Zayd as an old woman. Taken from Image f88 in the manuscript.

Abu Zayd appearing before the Kadi. The picture is taken from Image f279 in the manuscript.

The Kadi dispensing justice to Abu Zayd and his wife. Taken from Image f285 in the manuscript.

This is the slave of Abu Zayd. Taken from Image f313 from the manuscript.

Recommended Reading

Medieval Sourcebook: Al Hariri of Basrah by Paul Halsall. The first 12 Assemblies.

LibriVox- Excerpts from the Makamat. Public domain audiobook.

Orality, writing and the image in the Maqamat: Arabic illustrated books in context by Alain F. George. Via Academia.edu.

In Pursuit of Shadows: Al-Hariri’s Maqāmāt by David J. Roxburgh. First printed in Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World 30 (2013): 171-212. Via Archnet.

Arab Dress: From the dawn of Islam to modern times by Yedida Stillman. Via the Internet Archive.

An early period child’s tunic from Egypt

This tunic was found in Akhmim, Egypt, and was dated to 500-700 C.E. The height is 48 cm shoulder to hem and the width is 59.5 cm wrist to wrist. The size alone means that it is more than likely a child’s tunic.

The fabric is either plain woven linen or cotton, resist dyed with indigo. The tunic itself is more tailored than other tunics worn at the same time in Egypt. There are side gores attached to the hem, as well as separate attached sleeves including an underarm gore-
which points to an influence from Syria. The neck opening is like other children’s tunics of the time- round neckline with a slit along one shoulder.

The tunic is currently in the V&A Museum, Accession number 1522-1899.

Many birds!

ashmoleanbirdsalternating This textile is plain tabby woven linen, 11.5 cm by 7.8cm and embroidered in red silk. The textile was thought to have been made between the 10th-15th century C.E and found in Egypt. Currently the textile can be found in the Ashmolean Museum Accession number EA1993.193. I have charted up the design & is available for download in pdf format.
ashmoleanbirdsalternating PDF

ashmoleanbirdsleftfacing This textile is also plain woven linen embroidered with red silk, 10th-15th century C.E. found in Egypt. The size is 43 cm by 47 cm. However, there is a selvedge on the left hand side of the textile. It is currently in the Ashmolean Museum Accession number EA1993.195. I have charted up the embroidery design. It is available for download as a pdf.
ashmoleanleftfacingbirds PDF

ashmoleanbirdsrightfacing This textile is also plain woven linen embroidered with silk (blue), 10th-15th century C.E. from Egypt. It is 21 cm by 17 cm with a crude seam on the right side of the textile, sewn with flax. The textile is in the Ashmolean Museum Accession number EA1993.185. I have charted up the design and it is available for download in pdf format.
ashmoleanrightfacingbirds

ashmoleandoublebirds This textile is like the previous- plain woven linen embroidered with red silk, made between the 10th-15th century C.E in Egypt. The size is 18 cm by 11.7 cm with a rolled hem in flax on the left side of the textile. It is currently in the Ashmolean Museum Accession number EA1993.194. The chart is available as pdf to download.
ashmoleandoublebirds PDF

Please let me know how the charts go! For more information on bird symbolism please read Birds in Islamic Culture (blog), The Conference of the Birds, and The Simurgh.

A new pattern darning chart

ashmoleancontinuouss This textile was thought to have been made between the 10th and 15th centuries in Egypt. It is a kerchief or square cover that is linen embroidered in blue and brown silk. The textile is 28.5 by 26 cm, embroidered in eight pattern darning bands with a width of 1 cm. The kerchief is currently in the Ashmolean Museum.

I have charted up the design. It is in pdf format-
ashmoleancontinuouss PDF

I also used the design in an embroidery competition in my Kingdom. I will edit the post later to add a picture, as I currently don’t have one. I will also upload a pdf of my documentation-
WCob3 PDF

Let me know how you find the chart!