11th c Russian block printing on fabric. 

I block printed wool and silk fabrics based on an extrapolation of the design from a textile scrap found in Chernigov, Russia, dating to the 11th or 12th c. The original was printed in black on a light ground, on tabby wool. I carved the block at approximate actual size of 8 inches across, after drawing out the design and graphite transferring it.

Fragment


Design as reconstructed.


The design is easier to see when inked.

l used a linoleum block, though it would be hardwood in period, due to accessibility. I used acrylic textile ink used based on drying time and availability, in period an oil and pigment mixture would have been used. The fabric I used first is a wool blend twill, which was in my stash, while the original is plain weave.
My motif spacing is based on this example of roundel patterned clothing from a contemporary painting.

Mural from St Sophia, Kiev.

In progress.

Finished wool.

Next I printed the same block on a silk twill, for trim on another garment.

Jakunina describes another printed fragment, this one found outside of Kiev, dated to the 10th c. that is printed on a silk twill. 

10th c silk printed fragment.

Yellow gave me an odd green.

The red is my favorite.

Sources

CIBA Review: Medieval Blockprinting in Europe. Basle, 1939.

Cennini, Cennino d’Andrea, Il Libro dell’Arte, trans. Daniel V. Thompson, Jr. New York: Dover

Forrer, Robert. Die Kunst Des Zeugdrucks Vom Mittelalter Bis Zur Empirezeit. Nach Urkunden Und Originaldrucken Bearb. Strassburg I. Els.: Shclesier Und Schweikhardt, 1898.

Jakunina, L. J. “O triech kurgannych tkaniach” Trudy Gosudarstwiennowo Istoriczieskowo Muzieja, T.11. Moskwa, 1940, s. 140 inn, rys. 1-6

Lazarev, Viktor Nikitich. Old Russian Murals & Mosaics: From the 11th to the 16th Century. London: Phaidon, 1966.

Robinson, Stuart, A History of Printed Textiles: Block, Roller, Screen, Design, Dyes, Fibres, Discharge, Resist, Further Sources for Research. Cambridge,Mass: The M.I.T. Press, 1969.

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