A 13th century band from Stary Brzesc (Poland)

While in Poland, I took the opportunity to visit the Archeological and Ethnographic Museum in Lodz (Central Poland). I wanted to see one particular object – a woven piece of fabric found in Stary Brzesc and dated to the 13th century. I had seen some replicas of it online which made me really curious about the original.

The band is displayed amongst other objects of the same period (11 to 13th century) found in Central and Northern Poland (Lodz county and Kuyavia-Pomerania province). These include leather shoes and a wooden shoemaker’s last, as well as numerous mineral and glass beads, bronze and iron rings and necklaces, and bone combs. The objects’ descriptions are unfortunately very basic. In the case of the band from Stary Brzesc we only learn it is “a fragment of fabric with golden thread” with no further details where it could have been attached and whom it could have belonged to. There is no explicit information the band was made using tablet weaving. However, the characteristic diagonal lines in its weave and the golden thread brocading make it very probable. The band is about 2 cm wide but the exact dimensions are not given.

I tried to replicate the pattern using the GTT software and it worked out very well. I made it into a threaded-in pattern since I wanted to use the band as a strap for a kitchen apron I could use when cooking at medieval fairs. A brocaded band would certainly be too much 🙂 I used my favourite Estonian 2-ply wool. I love the result but somehow I didn’t enjoy the process. The pattern is easy to follow but as it is asymmetrical, the remaining warp threads get twisted, making it difficult if you work on an inkle loom.

Coming back to the Museum in Lodz – its permanent archeological exhibition is a great place to visit if you are interested in the Bronze Age, the Hallstatt period and of course the early medieval culture of Central and Northern Poland. There are numerous well-preserved finds of jewellery, as well as crafting and everyday life objects. Below a selection of objects I found really beautiful and/or interesting.

Sets of middle neolithic jewellery (copper and bone pendants, beads, necklaces and hip belts etc.) found in the Kuyavia region, Poland


The Middle Bronze Age – Hallstatt period (1350-500 BC), hoards of bronze artifacts from Lusatian Culture territory (Poland): armlets, pendants, and necklaces.


Bone combs, 11-12th c., Kuyavia-Pomerania

Fragments of an early medieval shoe and a shoemaker’s wooden last, 12th c., Gdańsk

Beads (mineral, glass, amber, fluorite) dated to the 11-13th c., all found in Central or Northern Poland.

More about the Museum: http://nowe.maie.lodz.pl/pl/o-muzeum/about-us/


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