Thursday, November 05, 2009

Recommended reading: Ecclesiastical Pomp and Aristocratic Circumstance


I just added a new book to my collection, Nancy Spies, Ecclesiastical Pomp and Aristocratic Circumstance: A thousand years of brocaded tablet woven bands. Nancy Spies tried to track and describe as much brocaded tablet woven bands as possible from the period 600-1600 (in Europe). The resulting book is a gem which offers a wealth of data.

The book consist of two parts and three appendices. In the first part, Spies describes the historical background of (brocaded) tablet weaving. She covers issues such as production, use, techniques, designs and tools. The second part is an amazing “DIY” craft manual: she describes how to weave brocaded bands (tips, tricks and trouble-shooting included) and she presents pattern draughts of a large number of bands from different museum collections, together with technical and bibliographical data of each band.

Appendix A present a list of bands by function in chronological order, very useful if you want to know more about e.g. brocaded bands used in 14th century relic pouches. Appendix B explains double-faced 3/1 broken twill, and Appendix C is a catalogue of bands listed by country, city and museum.

The book concludes with an extensive, annotated bibliography, which was put on-line by Weavershand.

The part of the book I'm reading currently deals with the analysis of metal threads (pp. 60-65). Spies discusses some really interesting references (see bibliography above), I hope I can find some of them :-).

A few posts ago, we discussed gold work on leather, and whether it was used on shoes ( I'd really love to have golden shoes, too bad that's not historically accurate for a 14th century craftswoman...). On p. 32, Spies shows a drawing of the shoes of King Philip of Swabia (1198-1208) “trimmed with brocaded tabletwoven bands sewn together with a looped stitch using gold threads.” Apparently, it could be done, if you were very rich...

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