In my NESAT X article about the so-called Eric of Pomerania's Belt and the Dune Belt, I focused on the weaving technique and on the better preserved Eric of Pommerania's Belt. The fragmentary Dune Belt from Gotland mostly served as comparison, although it was actually because of it that I finally managed to figure out how the two belts were made and reconstruct the previously unknown tablet-weaving technique. Three years on, it's finally time for the Dune Belt to receive some long over-due attention. As it happens, this summer marks the 650-year anniversary of the Battle of Visby in 1361, when Danish king Valdemar invaded Gotland. The Dune treasure, in which the Dune Belt fragments were found, is believed to have been buried some time around the invasion.
On a side note: there will be a reenactment battle commemorating the events of 1361 on Gotland this summer: The Battle of Wisby. I will be there.
|One of the Dune Belt fragments. Historiska Museet, Stockholm. Inv. No. 6849:68D.|
It's difficult to say much about what the Dune belt originally looked like - no colours are preserved, as you can see in the image above, but the weave itself indicates some sort of diamond-shaped diagonal pattern. By focusing on the weave, I think it might be possible to get a better idea of how potential colours were distributed: changes in the pattern (the colours) result in changes in the acutal weave. So I've started weaving samples to see what kinds of colour changes will produce a weave that matches the fragments. So far I've made 5 samples, and I have a few more ideas to try out before going back to analyse the material and see what conclusions can be made (if any). The thread I'm using is Nm 60/2 spun silk, which is not quite right (the original is more like tightly twisted 320 denier filament silk, which I will get for the next set of samples), but it will do for now.
|First sample. Loosely tensioned wefts, giving the weave an "Eric of Pomeriana"-look, rather than the tight "Dune"-look.|
|Second sample. Wefts pulled tighter, moving towards the "Dune"-look.|
|Third sample. Almost half the width of the first sample. Still not quite tight enough for the Dune Belt.|
The pattern of the third sample really looks very nice! I like it a lot - imagine an entire belt dotted with those tiny diamonds!!! Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to match the fragments particularly well, but I won't rule it out completely until I get it under a microscope together with the original. I plan to put my results into a proper article when I'm done with all the samples and comparisons. In the meantime, the work-so-far will be exhibited during the huge weaving fair Väv 2011 in Borås, Sweden, this September (see this link for an English pdf-version of the programme)!
References and links:
Holmqvist, V. "A Study of Two Medieval Silk Girdles: Eric of Pomerania's Belt and the Dune Belt", in Andersson Strand, E. et al. NESAT X. Northern European Symposium for Archaeological Textiles. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2010, 117-125.
An old post about weaving Eric of Pomerania's Belt:
Search the Collections, Historiska Museet (The Museum of National Antiquities):
The Battle of Wisby:
Väv 2011: Weaving Fair