a textile fragment from the 15th century deciphered

Tiny textile fragments carefully stored in Museum collections reveal similar patterns as those in painters canvases.

I found this fragment in the online collection of The Metropolitam Museum: Rogers Fund 1909 Accesion number 09.50.1273

The piece measures aprox 5 x 5 cm.

Together with Cristina Balloffet Car, senior conservator at The Textile Conservation Department, it was possible to analyse the pattern from photomicrographs.

Software, developed to interface with computer-assisted handlooms enabled to generate a weave draft from this fragment.

The weave draft as we use it for handwaving today is a single graphic of a textile, that contains all the information of how a pattern is woven on the loom and what the textile looks in terms of a its graphic design.

This makes the weave draft unique and a tool for the study of technical art history.

Cristina Balloffet Carr at The Textile Conservation Department of The MET New York, showing the original fragment.

Photomicrograph by Cristina Balloffet Carr

Photomicrograph by Cristina Balloffet Carr

weave draft of the pattern,
10 shafts
10 treadles
warp repeat: 94 threads
weft repeat: 94 threads

the weave draft of these two fragments are the same, there is a difference in the thread counts of warp and weft. Note: thread count of the fragment at The V&A was given by the conservator, threadcount of the fragment at The MET was done from the photomicrograph.

the weave draft of the pattern in the canvas of Titian’s Vendramin Family, 1545 and of the fragment from the 15th century have a subtle difference in how many shafts were tied to the treadles but how the warp was threaded in the heddles and how weft was thrown by the weaver are identical as is the thread count of warp and weft.

…handwoven reconstructions in progress !