Report on the Textiles from Burgos Cathedral - Middelalder Centret
Most of the pieces have a crêpe-like structure in the weave of the midsection caused by a hard spun thread. The yarns used for the selvedges are less hard spun. This creates a natural tightness of the midsection while the selvedges appears wider and looser. This feature would be even more pronounced if the woven silks were after treated with for instance hot water which would leave the hard spun threads to tighten more than the threads in the sides. On a few of the fragments there were clear indications of piercing holes at the edge of the selvedges. (For instance 00651983) This must be due to a thread being pulled through the edges helping to form the pleats and keep them together much like modern carthridge pleating. It is not clear if a pleating thread was pulled through the textile while weaving, in order to keep the edges in place while weaving it or if this was made solely as an after treatment, where the fabric would be pulled together and treated with for example hot water to fix the pleats permanently. Fig. 17-18 A group of textiles have additional crimped bands sewn to the edges of the bands. These additional edges are made solely by pleating the bands after weaving and does not need any specific method of weaving. The pleating isself is a simple zigzagpleats of folded fabric held together with a thread pulled through the fabric. In one fragment a piece of pulling thread could still be seen. (00653737). Some pieces had no visible signs of piercing holes but had narrow pleats similar to those with piercing holes,(e.g. 00653742). This piece had a gauzelike, crêpe midsection and shiny, smooth and thick edges. In this fabric a combination of weaving and after-treatment had taken place. Like most of the textiles the edges are slightly looser and wider than the midsection due to the difference in number of threads and the thread thickness. The tiny sharp pleats, instead, was formed in the after-treatment. As the pleats are made with sharp folds and do not 27 appear irregular and uneven in shape; each pleat is folded with precision of c. 0,4 cm deep. One fragment with a similar type midsection and selvedges had traces of a slightly different kind of after-treatment as the whole surface of the fabric had an overall impression of being pleated on the width of the fabric. (00653754). There are no traces of piercing holes in this fragment which cannot simply have disappeared, possibly it was made with an even simpler technique of folding the fabric backwards and forward on itself, and treated to make the pleats remain in place. None on the pieces in the viewed group were made of linen, but Gomez-Moreno who was leading the excavation in 1946 mentions a few fragments of linen made in the same way as the silks. 4 Such methods are usually just semi-permanent and if worn often they would require maintenance and repleating regularly. Two of the pieces in the examined group have woven frills with no traces of after-treatment, which may, however, have taken place on a secondary level, perhaps while making them. The numbers 00651981 and 00651985 were very different from the other fragments in the group. These two fragments have soft, frilled edges that must have been formed as part of the weaving. The frilled part is formed partly by the warp threads of the selvedges being thicker than the threads in the midsection. Most of the pieces are long narrow bands with frills along both selvedges. Only one of the examined pieces had frills on only one selvedge (00651981). Some of the silk bands must have been worn with it’s full width wrapped around head and chin, but a couple of the bands were folded at the middle on the length of the fabric, forming two rows of frills on one side of the band. Three numbers clearly had this feature: 00651982, 00651983 and 00651985, but it is also possible that more of the textiles have been worn this way. The frilled textiles from Burgos clearly share similarities with contemporary Spanish images of frilled headwear. 5 Different styles of frilled 3 See report, textile analysis by Marianne Vedeler. 4 Manuel Gomez-Moreno: El Panteón Real de las Huelgas de Burgos. Madrid, 1946, p. 76. 5 Ruth Mathilda Anderson: Pleated Headdresses of Castilla and León, 12 th and 13 th centuries. Notes Hispanic. The Hispanic Society of America, vol. II, 1942. New York, 1942, pp. 51-80 , Joaquin Yarza Luaces (ed): Vestiduras Ricas. El Monasterio de las Huelgas y su época 1170-1340. Patrimonio National, Madrid, 2005.
28 Fig. 17 a-b Inv. no. 00651982. Photograph: Marianne Vedeler & Concha Herrero Carretero.