Thursday, November 27, 2014

So close!

After reading Marianne Vedeler's book Silk for the Vikings, I was eager to find a modern reproduction of a period patterned fabric (I don't expect to find silk samite, but was hoping for a reproduction using some other weave) which I could buy in a small quantity to trim Viking attire.

So I was really excited to find a Czech site called Sartor. Sartor will do reproductions of any historical pattern that enough people are willing to pay for, but what caught my interest was this page where they claim to be selling a Persian textile from the Oseberg find. 

The page discussing the Oseberg textile reproduction included a link, supposedly to web articles about the find.  The first article  cited showed a picture of the patterned silk samite strips Professor Vedeler discussed in her book--but that fabric wasn't the design Sartor has reproduced. Instead, Sartor reproduced a different textile, a photograph of which also appears in the article, captioned as follows: 
"Persian textiles also travelled east along the Silk Road; this reproduction is from one housed in the 8th century Shōsōin (正倉院) Imperial Repository in Nara, Japan. Private collection Great Britain."
The second article paraphrased the first one, and included the same photographs, including the photographs of the Oseberg textile and the 8th century Persian textile Sartor has reproduced.

Although Sartor's "Oseberg" textile isn't really from the Oseberg find, it is an early Central Asian type of silk design, similar to the silk fabric used for trim in the Pskov dress and found elsewhere in the Viking world, so it would not be inappropriate for me to use it for Viking garb. However, I don't really like the design and colors of Sartor's "Oseberg" textile, even though it's ideal for my purposes in many ways (it's made from 100% polyester, comes with either a gold, red or black background and only costs $15 per meter). What I do like, and may well be equally plausible in light of Professor Vedeler's conclusion that some Viking silks may have come to Scandinavia via Byzantium, is this 9th-10th century Byzantine textile reproduction. It's a silk-rayon blend and is selling for $24.51 per meter--plus about $16.00 shipping to the U.S.  Even if I only buy half a meter of the stuff, I'd still be paying nearly $30.00 USD for the privilege of using strips of it to trim my future Viking garb.  I need to think for a bit to decide whether I want to do that.


  1. Sartor is an incredibly cool company!

    1. It *is* a wonderful idea they have--agreeing to do any historical fabric if enough people are willing to buy it. Some of their later medieval textiles are even more impressive as reproductions, but that's beyond my present period of interest.