Med silke til Valhall. En studie av mønster og vevemetoder


  • Åse Eriksen



With silk for Valhalla. A study of pattern and weaving methods

In the Oseberg ship burial patterned silk fabrics from Central Asia were found. The collection of fabrics contained 110 small fragments woven in samitum, derived from up to 15 different fabrics. This article describes a project in which one of these patterned fabrics was reconstructed from six small fragments. By means of magnified photos all the fragments were studied and drawn. An error in the fabric made it possible to puzzle the fragments together and create an almost complete pattern unit. Technical information about the fabric facilitated the reconstruction of the textile with materials and colors available today. The reconstructed fabric was woven on a loom where the warp was horizontal, and the pattern was picked by hand. However, the original fabric was not woven on such a loom.

An attempt to weave samitum on a vertical loom indicated that this is more likely the method used. The vertical loom was both more effective and simpler than the horizontal loom. Furthermore the fragments reveal that the pattern had not been pre-stored in any device; a finding that is strengthened by the fact that this type of equipment was unavailable at the time. In summary, there is a need for more research on the looms to find out how a pattern shaft can be used on a vertical loom and practice in this possible weaving method. More study on other samitum silks is also required. This project has demonstrated that much information can be obtained, and hopefully a broader study can be undertaken.