Monday, February 28, 2011

Lund "Embroidery"?

Here's another minor conundrum. The photograph below is from James Graham-Campbell's book The Vikings.  It depicts a textile find from Lund that Graham-Campbell refers to as a "gold-embroidered silk, perhaps from Byzantium, found in Lund." 

From "The Vikings," page 55, No. 22
And that's the conundrum.  So far as I can tell from the photograph, there is no embroidery on that textile!  It looks to me as though it has had gold tablet-woven braids sewn to it.  But nothing like modern embroidery (or even Anglo-Saxon embroidery, which was quite common during the period) seems to be present.  So I've been wondering:  is this the wrong Lund find? Are there traces of embroidery that I simply cannot detect in this particular photograph? Was Graham-Campbell  mistaken or misinformed?

This is the only reference I've ever found to the "Lund embroidery."  Any additional information (or better photographs) would be greatly appreciated.

EDIT:  This textile reminds me a bit of the pieces from Mammen, which are now believed to be the surviving ends of long ribbons used to fasten a cloak. I wonder if the Lund piece might have served similar function. 


  1. From Carolyn Priest-Dorman's annotated bibliography

    Says it "is actually appliqué work and not embroidery at all."

    The catalogue at the back of "The Vikings" (p. 197) lists it as coming from Kulturen i Lund museum, with the ID number KM 53436:517.

    Sorry its not much.

  2. Just a dedicated needlecrafter's eye...I'd second the comment above. That definitely looks like applique; I can't see any embroidery in the picture either. It leads me to question exactly how knowledgeable Graham-Campbell is about such techniques. Confusing embroidery with applique is not an unusual mistake among those who don't actually *do* crafts, on the same order (sadly) as confusing crochet with knitting.

  3. Hi, Terri! It's so true that scholars unfamiliar with textile techniques are very prone to misname them. Confusing crochet with knitting is common, as is confusing crochet with nalebinding.

  4. pearl: I feel like a right idiot for not checking Carolyn's site myself. I know why I didn't, though--I thought I remembered that it mentioned the item but didn't say anything about it (unlikely, since the bibliography says it was last updated in 1997).

    At least it's good to know I'm not crazy, and because you provided a link to the Lund museum site I can try to find out more there. Thanks.