Classes I taught earlier in the year

Earlier in the year I taught at the Politarchopolis University online. I taught a class on the history of Mamluk embroidery, and thought to share them here too. I have them saved as pdf documents.

Egyptian Mamluk embroidery pdf
Mamluk Egyptian charts & reading pdf

Happy to answer any questions!

Buyid embroideries

largebuyidembroideredcloth11thcent This textile was made in either Iran or Iraq in the 11th century, under the Buyids. It is 31.5 cm by 40.5 cm and the base fabric is mulham (silk warp and cotton weft fabric) tabby woven with silk and gold thread embroidery. It has two tiraz inscriptions, which read (on the top)-

“. . . command and glory and power and good fortune and . . . peace and command and command [one word garbled].”

with the text on the bottom-

“. . . [the Compassionat]te [?]. Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds and the wor[lds?].”

The textile is in the Cleveland Museum of Art, accession number 1938.300.

buyidembroidery11thcent Also thought to have been made in the 11th century in either Iran or Iraq, this textile is 40 cm by 26 cm. Also mulham ground fabric embroidered in silk and gold wrapped thread, with roundels of birds and animals. There is a tiraz at the bottom, but no translation is available. It is currently in the Cleveland Museum of Art accession number 1952.257.

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.

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.

A fourth possible shirt embroidery

ashmoleantreesandtiraz This textile was thought to have been made between the 10th and 15th centuries C.E. in Egypt. It is linen, embroidered in blue silk in double running stitch. The size of the textile is 26.5 cm by 9.5 cm. In the middle of the textile there is a roll and fell seam sewn in flax, possibly from a shirt. The tiraz is in Kufic script, which translates as “blessing”.

The textile is currently in the Ashmolean Museum.

I have charted up the design & it is available for download as a pdf document.

ashmoleantreesandtiraz (pdf)

I would love to see any garb with this design!

The veil of Hisham II

veilofhishamii This textile, thought to have been a veil, was found in a reliquary in the Santa María del Rivero church alter. It had been wrapped around the item in the reliquary but the textile has now been restored.

It is 109 cm long and 18 cm wide base fabric of linen with the decoration a silk & linen tapestry weave. It has tiraz bands in the decoration, with the inscription of-

“In the name of god the indulgent, the merciful”

as well as-

“May divine blessing, prosperity and long life be attributed to the imam, god’s servant, Hisham, he who is the object of his benevolence, the emir of all believers.”

Tiraz detail-
The kufic tiraz talks of Hisham, a 10th-11th century Caliph that ruled Cordoba during the Umayyad era. The animals in the tapestry woven roundels are birds and cats- hishamveilroundeldetail
The textile can be seen through the Qantara website although the textile is in the Real Academia de la Historia in Madrid.

Recommended reading
Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain edited Jerrilyn Dodds. Available to read online at the Internet Archive.
The Origin and Early Development of Floriated Kūfic by Adolf Grohmann. JStor article.
Material for a History of Islamic Textiles up to the Mongol Conquest by R. B. Serjeant. JStor article.
Ṭirāz Textiles from Egypt: Production, Administration and Uses of Ṭirāz Textiles from Egypt Under the Umayyad, ʻAbbāsid and Fāṭimid Dynasties by Jochen Sokoly. Phd thesis.

Some Coptic shawls

shawl3rd4thcentshawldetail3rd4thcent This shawl is from between the 3rd and 4th century C.E. The Egyptian shawl is plain weave linen, with a tapestry weave decoration sewn on. The size of the shawl is 70 cm by 45 cm. It is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

browncopticshawl8th9thcent This shawl has been tapestry woven with wool and linen between the 8th and 9th century. It is 21.9 cm by 33 cm. It is also has Coptic script on it, as opposed to tiraz bands with Arabic. It is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

darkcopticshawl8th9thcent Also made between the 8th and 9th century, this particular shawl is wool, tapestry woven with linen decorations. There is also Coptic script. It is 33 cm high by 79.4 cm wide. It is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

copticshawl9th10thcent This shawl is much like the others- wool and linen tapestry woven with Coptic script. However by this stage there were also Arabic tiraz becoming the fashion from the Abbasid and Fatimid Empires. The shawl is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Two Seljuk Persian statues

This stucco statue is thought to be from an Iranian palace (unsure where) with similar statues found in audience chambers in palaces in Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. The statue was made from the mid 11th-12th centuries out of carved, painted and gilded stucco. The height is 119.4 cm, the width 52.1 cm and the statue weighs 77.1 kg. The statue wears a crown and a large saber, so it is possible it is representative of a royal. The statue’s clothing is an embellished coat over a robe, with tiraz bands on each arm. The loose translation for the left arm is worshiper for the believers and the right arm translates to he returns/belongs to the believers. The statue is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This second statue is from the same palace complex and time period as the first statue. Also made of carved, painted and gilded stucco in the mid 11th-12th centuries, the statue is 143.5 cm high, 51.5 cm wide and weighs 198.2 kg. The statue is wearing a robe with an elaborate coat, also with tiraz bands on each arm. However, there is no translation of these. If you do know the translation or can read them, please let me know. The statue is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Recommended reading
The Art of the Seljuqs of Iran (ca. 1040–1157) from the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.
Arab Painting: Text and Image in Illustrated Arab Manuscripts by Anna Contadini. Via Google Books.
Islamic Art by Richard Ettinghausen. JStor article.
The Flowering of Seljuq Art by Richard Ettinghausen. JStor article.

Umayyad Tiraz

This textile fragment is 8.9 x 10.2 cm in size. It is a red silk twill weave, with a green and yellow border. Thought to have been made between the 7th-8th centuries, during the reign of Marwan II, the Umayyad caliph. He ruled in Damascus from 744-750 CE. This tiraz inscription, however, records the textile being made in Tunisia, or Ifriqiya. The incomplete tiraz translates to-

The servant of God, Marwan, Commander of the Faithful. Of what was ordered [to be made by] al-R. [or al-Z.] in the tiraz of Ifriqiya [Tunisia].

The textile is currently in the Brooklyn Museum.

An early Persian tiraz

Tiraz can be very useful in dating things to within a year of creation. This tiraz was made in the year 879–80 C.E. in Nishapur, Iran. It is made from a fabric known as mulham, which is silk warp and cotton (or linen) weft. The dimensions are 15.9 cm by 30.5 cm. The tiraz embroidery reads-
“[…] of the Faithful, may God […] of what Ahmad, the brother of the Commander of the Faithful, ordered to be made in the tiraz of Nishapur, year 266 (879-880). Abu Abdallah al-Hamis (al-Tamis)”
Details of the embroidery- The stitches look to be a back stitch or a running stitch but I am happy to be corrected. The textile is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There is a very good zoom function.

There is also more information in a previous post called Tiraz.
The Grove encyclopedia of Islamic art and architecture: Vol 2 by Jonathan M. Bloom and Sheila Blair. Via Google Books.
Silk Economics and Cross-Cultural Artistic Interaction: Byzantium, the Muslim World, and the Christian West by David Jacoby. JStor article.
The Silk Road in World History by Xinru Liu. Via Google Books.
Two Islamic Embroideries in Gold on “Mulham” by Dorothy G. Shepherd. JStor article.
Arab dress; a short history: from the dawn of Islam to modern times by Yedida Kalfon Stillman and Norman A. Stillman. Via Google Books.
Tiraz: Textiles and Dress with Inscriptions in Central and Southwest Asia by Margaret Anne Deppe. Via Google Docs.