It’s getting weavy weird in the textile conservation lab this week! Check out these “eccentric wefts”! If you look closely at the fine weave of this 7th-9th century Egyptian fragment, you can see how the horizontal threads forming the design sort of wander up and down to help form the sinuous lines. The weave isn’t straight and square like most of the woven fabric we all know. This technique is called an eccentric weft and is typical of these kinds of textiles. It is also unique to hand-woven pieces because this effect requires a weaver to manipulate each thread rather than pass a weaving tool (or “shuttle”) through the whole weaving row (or “shed”). Eccentric wefts and other hallmarks of painstaking hand-weaving are typical of these kinds of pieces. This fragment is about 12” long and about 4 ½” high and still carries some of the dirt that it was likely excavated from. It is one of hundreds of Coptic and Tiraz textile fragments in the collections, some of which are being photographed in the textile conservation lab this week.
Fragment of a “Tiraz” fabric, 7th-9th Century, Egypt, linen tapestry-weave, Gift of Beatrice Kelekian in memory of Charles Dikran Kelekian, 1986.160
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