Monday, December 29, 2008

Warps and Wefts 2009; Patterns of Moon, Patterns of Sun

Saudi Aramco World (Carol Bier; Paul Lunde)

Textiles created in Islamic societies before the industrial revolution represented the most advanced stages of technological development for their time. Less than a century after the Arab conquests, patterned silks woven with compound weave structures were exported beyond Islamic lands to the East and West. Although silk is first documented in China, luxury Islamic textiles subsequently influenced silk-weaving in China and Japan, and pattern-woven fragments of Islamic silks were used to wrap the relics of saints in European church treasuries. These rich textiles were produced using the technology of the drawloom, whose two separate harnesses allowed for two sets of warps, one for pattern and one for structure, and which likely contributed to the rapid commercialization of textile production and trade from the early Islamic period.

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