Ancient manufacture?

There is no ancient textile with the same wave (3/1 herringbone)


One response to “Ancient manufacture?

  • Episcopalian

    The weave of the shroud is three-hop (three over one) twill with a herringbone pattern. This is a very distinctive weaving pattern. In twill weaving, the weft or cross thread passes over two, three or more warp threads before passing under a single one. Warp threads are the threads that are strung onto the loom first before weaving begins, usually in a vertical direction. Warp threads invariably are the threads that run the length of the cloth. During weaving, the hop over and then under process is repeated across the entire width of the cloth. Then, at the next weft row (or pick as it is sometimes called) the hop pattern is offset by one warp thread. And then the next pick, offset again; and on and on. This creates a fine ridge at an angle that gives an illusion that the cloth is woven at an angle. Twill is said to have a diagonal wale or texture. Ordinary denim blue used for blue jeans provides an excellent example of twill weave and the hop is clearly visible.

    A herringbone pattern is sometimes introduced into a twill weave by every now and then reversing the offset so that the diagonal wale is reversed. The resulting appearance resembles the backbone pattern of a herring, hence the name herringbone. Other decorative and complex patterns including lozenges, waves and zig-zags can be created in twill weaving by varying the hop in different ways.

    Herringbone twill, specifically, has been found in fabric samples dating back as far as 400 B.C. among the mummified remains of a Celtic people found in ancient Hallstatt salt mines near present-day Vienna. Other herringbone cloth, made from horsehair, has been found in Ireland dating from possibly as early as the arrival of Celtic people on the island around 600 B.C.. Other complex twill patterns going back to at least 200 B.C., and probably earlier, have been found with mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China. In Northern Italy, a six foot long piece of linen cloth was found with twilling and lozenge patterning that is almost certainly from the third millennium B.C..

    Linen itself has been around for a very long time and in diverse parts of the world. Fragments of Egyptian linen at the British Museum in London and the Bolton Museum in Lancashire are over 6,000 years old. The wrappings from the mummy of Rameses II, the pharaoh of the Israelite Exodus from Egypt, are linen. They are very well preserved.

    In the Hebrew Bible, what Christians call the Old Testament, we learn that curtains of the Tabernacle were of fine linen. Aaron, the high priest, wore a linen coat and linen miter.

    In other words, linen and twill cloth, even herringbone twill, has been around for a long time. We might reasonably suppose that herringbone twill linen was produced in the weaving centers of Alexandria, Antioch, Damascus and in other cities in Hellenistic and Roman antiquity. Claims from some skeptics that a three-over-one herringbone is too elaborate for Roman Palestine, or that a piece of linen could not have lasted 2000 years is historically unsustainable.

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