Tablet woven trim on Viking apron dress
Posted by: "Catherine Olanich Raymond" cathy@...
Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:48 pm (PST)
Periodically (though I can't remember if this has happened in this forum),
someone asks whether brocaded tablet woven trim was used on apron dresses.
Every time I've seen the question arise, someone usually answers it "no."
But that's not quite correct! Today, I was looking at my copy of Nancy
Spies's great book about tablet-woven trim, "Ecclesiastical Pomp and
Aristocratic Circumstance: A Thousand Years of Tablet-Woven Bands," and I
found an example! It's from a 10th century grave in Kostrup, Denmark.
Nancy's book gives a sketch that shows the position of the piece (apparently
only between the brooches) in Figure 43 located on Page 43. It's presently
the Odense Bys Museer in Denmark.
Granted, the brocading on this one is wool, not metal, but it's still
The find is described in detail in Nancy's catalog of extant tablet-woven
finds--it's on page 218 of her book. The full description from her listing
Attribution: Viking female
Find location: Lykkeebjerg near Kostrup, Vends Herred on Fuenen, Denmark.
Date: 10th century
Function: Trim on "apron dress" (found sewn to top edge of woolen overdress
between two fibulae)
width: ca. 1.4 cm
length: originally ca. 20.0 cm
number of tablets: 12 in center (borders now missing)
threading per tablet: 2 holes in center tablet (borders now missing)
direction of tablet threading: presumably threaded holes in one tablet
opposite empty holes in neighboring tablet, etc.
warp: wool and probably linen
weft: ?linen/?hair (now missing)
brocade wefts: different colors of wool, now with reddish, brownish, and
pattern: geometric --swastikas, 'elongated S' motif, saltires, 'armed'
References: Hansen, Tablet Weaving, p. 60; Rasmussen and Lonborg,
"Draagtrester i grav ACQ, Kostrup," pp. 175-182.