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sprang-chrono-art - 1/21/07


A chronology of the art of sprang weaving by Medb ingen Dungaile.


NOTE: See also the files: sprang-msg, sprang-bib, p-knitting-bib, knitting-msg, lace-msg, weaving-lnks, crochet-FAQ, Bobbin-Lace-art, P-Emb-Frames-art, naalbinding-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org




by Medb ingen Dungaile


(Items in Bold are additions or modifications)

Bulk taken from

Collingwood, Peter.  The techniques of sprang: plaiting on stretched

threads. London : Faber and Faber, [1974]




New Stone Age


(300-1500 B.C.)




On the undersides of some   Neolithic pots from Rietzmeck, Kreis Rosslau, E. Germany, there are   impressions of the of the fabrics they stood on when drying.  If some of   these are correctly interpreted as interlinked in structure, there still is   no evidence that they were made by the sprang method (Collingwood)




Danish Bronze Age


(About 1400 B.B.




The Borum Eshöj Hair-net


Discovered in 1871, in a   woman’s grave in Borum Esöjj, a burial mound near Aarhus, Denmark.  158   threads of fine 2-ply wool in warp.  Very skillfully made, using multiple   twist interlinking and ridges (…).  Perhaps the only historical examples that   can be considered as luxury fabrics are the early Danish finds.  As they came   from graves in impressive barrows (Borum Esöj was over 120 feet across and   nearly 20 feet high), they probably belonged to chiefs or even royalty.  This   explains the expertise both in design and manual skill that went into these   fabrics.  See the hair-net from Haraldskar bog and the Oseberg frame.


(Collingwood, Hald,   Munksgaard)








The Skrydstrup Cap


Discovered in 1935 in a man’s   grave in Skrydstrupfield, near Haderslev, Denmark.  Made from 2-ply wool,   worked in a mixture of interlacing and interlinking.  Meeting line closed by   two rows of chaining (…).


     A hair-net made from   horsehair and with an intertwined structure was found in the same grave but   there is no evidence it was a sprang fabric.


(Collingwood, Broholm, Hald)




Iron Age






Hairband from Windeby and   hairnet from Damendorf (Schlabow)




1000 B.C. Tarim Basin, Central   Asia




Black   sprang hairnet(s); “The Mummies of Ürümchi” (Barber)






Late Pre-ceramic, Peru


(about 1100 B.C.E.)






Cylindrical Bags and Fabrics


Excavated in 1957 at Asia,   central coast of Peru.  Interlinking and interlacing, cotton yarn. ? Meeting   lines present. (Collingwood, Frame)




Hallstatt period


(800-500 B.C.E.)






Discovered in 1835 in the   Haraldskar bog at Vejle, Denmark, but not recognized as sprang until a   century later.  Sometimes called ‘Queen Gunhild’s Hair-net’ as she is known   to have been drowned here.  Made of single-ply wool, using closely placed   holes as the basic structure.  Incomplete, one edge sewn to a woven band,   meeting line present (Collingwood, Hald 1980)








Woman’s Cap or Hood


Discovered in 1942 in a peat   bog at Arden Denmark.  Well-preserved, Stripes of S- and Z-twist interlinking   (Collingwood, Hald 1980)




5th century B.C.E. to 2nd   century A.D.E.






Found in the vicinity of   Kertch in the eastern Crimea.  7 cm x 1.5 cm, 2-ply wool.  Simple   interlinking with contrasting areas of open pattern. (Jenkins)








Possible   looms on Greek pots (Clark)




Paracas Cavernas, Peru


(500-300 B.C.E.)




Two Pieces, possibly Head-dresses


Excavated in 1931 in Paracas   Cavernas graves, Peru.  Both made from orange wool, one 52 inches x 22   inches.  Complex hole design depicting fish, birds, serpents, in all-over   pattern.  Chained meeting line (Collingwood)




Nazca, Peru


(300 B.C.E.-A.D.E. 500)




Four Pieces


Excavated in 1925 at Majoro and   Cacatilla, near Nazca, Peru.  They show intertwining but it is not clear   whether they are sprang or not.  Woolen (Collingwood)








Neck Coverings


Also from Nazca come the very   elaborate woolen neck coverings using double, and sometimes quadruple,   intertwined sprang (…).  Very complex construction.  All-over linear designs.    Simple interlaced bags also found (Collingwood,)




La TŹne Period


(500-50 B.C.E.)




A collection of charred   textiles, ropes and wooden tablets found in a Spanish grave.  One fragment   shows interlinking ? sprang (Collingwood)




200-100 B.C.E. Peru




Paracas “Hoods”


Many examples, some of wool,   some of cotton, often with extensive use of openwork sprang to create   patterns (King)




Roman Iron Age




A fragment of simple   interlinking found in a grave at Blidegn, Denmark, ? sprang (Collingwood)








York Stocking


(previously assumed to be   Viking)


Excavated in 1838 at Micklegate   Bar, York, England.  Worked with 2-ply wool in stripes of S- and Z-twist   interlinking.  Selvages sewn together to form a tube which tapers slightly,   so like the Tegle stocking it has no foot.  No meeting line. (Collingwood,   Henshall, Wyatt)








Cimbric Female Bonnet


Made of wool-yarn (Koch)




3rd-5th C Norway




Woolen Stocking


Found in a bog at Tegle,   Jaeren, the earliest Norwegian find of sprang.  Consists of a tubular fabric   with interlocking triangle design done in S- and Z-twist interlinking.  Top   and bottom edge finished with tablet-woven band, no meeting line   (Collingwood, Hoffman, Hoffman and Tratteberg)




A.D. 100




? Hair-net


Found in rubbish dump at   Vindonissa, Switzerland.  Fine wool worked with triple twist interlinking.   Incomplete, but meeting line present (Collingwood, Wild 1970)




A.D. 400-700




Coptic Sprang Fabrics


Discovered from the 1880s   onwards, in Coptic graves in Upper Egypt, chiefly at Achmin.  Made of un-dyed   linen or dyed wool.  Some are pointed and called caps, some are rectangular   with drawstrings and called bags (…), also turbans and other garments.  Techniques   include hole designs, S- and S-twist, extra twining threads, 2/2 and 4/4   interlinking and double interlinked sprang.  Very accomplished workmanship.   Mentioned and illustrated in catalogues of all main textile collections.   Technical analyses in Schinnerer, n.d., and Hald, 1950.


     By far the largest number   of historical sprang fabrics come from the Coptic burial grounds and for two   reasons.  Firstly, there is the Coptic habit of burying their dead fully   clothed with everyday objects like carrying bags around them; secondly, there   is the position of the graves, which were in dry sand, above the level of the   Nile’s flood water and in a region with practically no rainfall.  So there   was a profusion of textiles buried in conditions that prevented bacterial   decay, with the result of that any textile collection has far more examples   of Coptic sprang than of sprang fabrics of more recent date.


(Bazinet, Collingwood, Cook and   Tullo, Harris, Information Pack, Janssen, Rutschoscaya, Stauffer, Whitworth   Art Gallery, Wyatt)




Viking Period


(about A.D. 850)




Wooden Frame


A beech wood frame, 44 inches   high x 30 inches wide, found in the ship-burial (? of Queen Asa), at Oseberg,   Norway; may possibly have been used for sprang.  Lower beam adjusted by pegs   fitting into the uprights; narrow rod fitting into a groove on underside of   top beam; intended to be free-standing.  If used for sprang, then probably   for circular warp method (Collingwood)








Impression inside Brooch


A tortoiseshell brooch, found   in the Shetlands, Scotland, bears on its inside the impression of some type   of diamond mesh thread work, ? interlinked sprang (…).


Small fragments of interlinking found in the graves at Birka,   Sweden, ? sprang (Andersson, Collingwood, Geijer 1938)




9th Century




Beige linen   and red & ochre wool bonnet; origin unknown but presently in the Museo   Poldi Pezzoli in Milan. (Zanni)




10th-12th Centuries






Single-ply, S-twisted silk   threads, made from alternate rows of 1/1 and 2/2 interlinking.   Found in   Dublin, Ireland.  Finished width of 130mm, at one end some of the warp loops   are preserved, the other end is torn and tied in a knot.  Earliest recorded   piece of sprang to be made from silk thread. (Pritchard)




A.D. 1100-1300




Narrow Band


Found at Mule Creek Cave, New   Mexico, USA.  Made from 2-ply cotton, 10 inches long x 1 inch wide, worked in   interlinking with hole designs.  No meeting line (Collingwood)








Fragment   from the tomb of Guidotto in Messina Cathedral (Digilio)




A.D. 1300-1500






Found at Tonto Monument,   Arizona, USA.  Measures about 26 inches square, back largely missing, worked   with elaborate hole designs.  Fringe at bottom edge, warp loops of front and   back portion joined along the shoulders.  Front and back may be the upper and   lower halves of a sprang fabric (Collingwood, Sprang Tunic, Webster)




13th Century




Hungarian   and German examples (Turnau)




C. 1450-1500




Border of Sprang


From England, currently in   the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Bath)




15th century




White Linen Fabric


120 inches long x 30 inches   wide, with complex hole designs some of which are embroidered with blue   thread.  Made on a circular warp.  Probably from central Switzerland   (Collingwood)




17th century




Three Woman’s Caps


Made of silk and gold thread,   bequeathed to Austrian Museum by a woman from Transylvania (Collingwood)








Woman’s Girdle


Found in a church at Mediasch,   Transylvania.  White, with simple hole designs and fringes at both ends.   Made on a circular warp (Collingwood)




Mid 17th century




Turkish Sashes


Found in one of the crypts   of the Roman Catholic Church at Satospatak, Hungary.   Made of tightly spun   red silk.  One is composed of diamond patterns, the other with trees and   detailed creatures. (Gervers)




About 1700




Silk Mittens


Norwegian; worked with hole   designs (…).  These were also made in Holland and France. (Collingwood)








White Linen Piece


Found by Edna Mygdal in a   church at Hvalsoe, Jutland, Denmark, in 1916.  70 inches long x 18 inches   wide, worked with hole designs, forming diamonds, but also the initials M K D   and the date 1707.  Circular warp method (Collingwood,)








Military Sashes (…)


Ceremonial sashes made of silk   and worn by army officers, each country having its own colour or striping.   Usually simple interlinking, sometimes with hole designs.  Up to 12 feet long   x 30 inches wide, with long fringes.  Also used by officers of town guilds,   sometimes being embroidered.  Made on circular warp. (Collingwood)








Collection of Sprang Fabrics


About a hundred pieces, many   unfinished, such as bonnets, stockings, mittens, collars, cuffs.  All made by   a woman from Bruges, Belgium, in intricate hole designs.  Now in Musée Royaux   d’Art, Brussels, which also has a sprang fram (68 inches x 14 inches), with   work still on it and a collection of wooden sticks, 10 inches long   (Collingwood)




About 1850




Works of Christine Steeger


Many pieces survive made by   Christine Steeger (1800-59), of Aalen, Württemberg, Germany.  These include   complete jackets and skirts, but also smaller pieces. All worked with hole   designs.  Sprang was called ‘krabbeln’, i.e., crawling like a crab, in Württemberg,   probably from the way the right hand moves across the warp (Collingwood)






Copyright 2004 by Jackie Wyatt, 704-15 Erskine Ave., Toronto, ON, Canada M4P 1Y5. <jkwyatt at alumni.uwo.ca>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org