A bibliography of textual sources for Birka and metal trimmings, especially Posaments
(slowly becoming an annotated bibliography)
Format of entries:
- Bibliographical entry
- Summary of text
- Comments on text
- Link to publication, where available
- Arne, T. J. 1914. La Suéde et 1’Orient. Archives d’Etudes Orientales, Vol. 8. Uppsala.
- French text
- Short comment about posaments on pages 214-215. Refers to the woven cage-like pieces as “silver acorns acorns.” They are mostly a twined wire technique, but have a posament ring at the top. Refers to similar finds in Gnezdovo and Kiev. Proposes that the Varangians who served in Byzantium brought the fashion back to Scandinavia where it was imitated by local artisans.
- I have not been able to track down the Russian examples that are mentioned, but am actively working on doing so.
- Arrhenius, Birgit. “Ett Tråddragningsinstrument Från Birka.” Fornvännen, 1968, 288-93.
- Swedish text, English summary.
- Report of a small iron drawplate from Birka. Item Nr 5308: 445. 9.8 cm long with seven conical holes. It appears capable of drawing wire of a diameter of 1-2mm in the largest holes of 0.1-0.15mm (or possibly less) diameter in the smallest holes. Drawplate made of at least seven layers of iron with inserts in the holes to help regulate the diameter of the wire.
- Cyrus-Zetterström, Ulla. “A Monochrome Patterned Silk Fabric among the Finds from Birka.” In Opera Textilia Variorum Temporum, edited by Inger Estham and Margareta Nockert, 45-48. Stockholm, Sweden: Statens Historiska Museum, 1988.
- Article in English. Other articles in the book in various languages.
- Discussion of the silk fabric from Birka grave 944 that has a small portion of posament attached to it. The weave is both a twill and a tabby forming a “selfpatterned” weave. The silk is probably Chinese and had some traces of gold paint that might have been printed onto the fabric. The fabric is fine – 54/46 threads per cm. (See also Geijer, Acta Archaeologica Vol 50 – 1979, p. 213). Chinese term for this sort of single-colored patterned silk is “qi.” Author proposes “monochrome silk with a twill pattern on a tabby background.” Weaving drafts for the silk is worked out and included.
- The article has little to do with posaments except that the silver salts from the posament remaining on the seam probably helped preserve the silk fragments. This article is included since it is an interesting patterned silk with a clear association to a posament. I have sent this article to Sartor with the request that the silk be reproduced.
- Geijer, Agnes. Birka III : Die Textilfunde Aus Den Gräbern. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1938.
- German text
- The seminal work on the topic of posaments. Chapter VIII Posamentierarbeiten (pages 99-105) covers each of the twenty-seven types of posaments identified by Geijer. Several plates provide images of the posaments. She proposes that that the posaments were made using bobbins and large bone needles. She identifies a key characteristic of the posaments – while exceptions exist, they are usually formed from paired strands. She also provides some details about the drawn work posaments that is not obvious from the photographs, including that they are lightly beaten with a hammer (planished) to give additional facets and sparkle. She provides five categories of posament work: 1) ongoing braids or cords, 2) edging bands, 3) decorative spangles, 4) finial embellishments, and 5) sliding knots. She ends the chapter with a description of each posament type, many of which are illustrated in the plates at the end of the book – see plates 26-30 and 35.
- While Geijer had the advantage of being able to handle the posaments before they were mounted and so has some unique insights, some of her assertations and theories are difficult to prove experimentally whereas others work well. It is unlikely that a the posaments are worked with a large needle, but a bobbin may indeed have been used in making some of them. Her interpretation of the sliding rings as a Turk’s head knot formed by a single continuous strand is demonstrably correct, but her assertation that other posaments, particularly the bands, were made in a similar way does not seem to be correct. The bands and more elaborate braids appear to be made of multiple strands, not a single strand worked back and forth, as evidenced by the multiple ends seen either sewn into seams or under secured braids. Additionally, not all of her illustrations and descriptions are correct, most notably P2, which in her description is six working lines of paired strands but neither the description nor the illustration account for the decorative single-stranded border. Her identification of the type 4 posaments as being the terminals of belts is problematic because the posaments are too small to function that way on a waist belt; identification as the end of a narrow strap or tie is more likely.
- Geijer, Agnes. A history of textile art. Pasold Research Fund, 1979. (Translation/reprint of Geijer, A 1972. Ur texlilkonslem historia. Lund.
Reprinted as A history of textile art : a selective account, 1982.)
- English text.
- Survey of textile traditions from prehistory through the Renaissance, covering a wide range of techniques, including Birka-era weaving, tablet-weaving, sprang, diagonal braiding, piled fabrics, and (briefly) posament work. Geijer concludes that the fine woolens and precious metal bands must have been Syrian, Byzantine, or Oriental imports.
- While interesting to fiber historians, there’s not lot of content directly related to posament work and some of Geijer’s theories are dated or at least challenged by more recent work (see E. Anderson, Tools for textile Production from Birka and Hedeby as well as L Bender-Jorgensen, Prehistoric Scandinavian Textiles). The book does contain the illustration from 1673’s Lapplandia showing the production of pewter thread that is spun and closely mirrors the spiral threads at Birka.
- Geijer, Agnes. “The Textile Finds from Birka: Birka III, Die Texilfunde Aus Den Gräbern.” Acta Archaeologica 50 (1980): 209-22.
- English text.
- An update on Birka III. Discusses the woolen, silk, and bast textiles, including their properties and proposed origins. Geijer proposes a foreign, usually oriental, source for the woolens (Syria), linens (Russia), silks (Oriental or Chinese), and posaments and tabletwoven bands (Byzantine). A few photos and diagrams of the posaments and other metal embroideries (Stickerei) are provided.
- Sadly, of the 13 pages of the article, less than 2 full pages are devoted to the posaments. Little new information is presented, but it is provided in English for the first time. Most of the section on posaments and metal trimmings is devoted to discussing the difference between a drawn wire thread (dracht) and a thread constructed of a spiral of metal foil round a fiber core (lahn) and the possible link of the spiral wires to the Lapps. I remain unconvinced by her arguments regarding the foreign source of the posaments and tabletwoven bands. She believes her conclusion to he “corroborated” by the fact that the Cuthbert and Maeseyck weavings use the “western” style of lahn in a single pass instead of the doubled dracht of the Birka finds. However, single brocade passes allow for more complex patterns, not less. Extant examples of precious wire brocading are also found in Russia, but are generally rare, and not something that appears to be a standardized, widely traded good as she implies.
- Geijer, Agnes. “The Textile Finds From Birka.” Cloth and Clothing in Medieval Europe: Essays in Memory of Professor E. M. Carus-Wilson, edited by N. B. Harte and K. Go Ponting, 80-99. London: Imago Publishing, 1983.
- English Text
- A slight re-working of the 1980 article also called “The Textile Finds from Birka” including many of the same images. Only significant changes are the introductory material and a reference to M Nockert’s article (“A Scandinavian Haberet?” also published in this volume) concerning a find of 12-13th c wool diamond twill.
- Hallström, Gustaf. Birka I. Stockholm: Kungl. Vitterhets Historie Och Antikvitets Akademien, 1913.
- German text, but many images in the Tafeln volume
- The report of the Birka finds, including metal, pottery, and glass materials.
- Very little information on the posaments, since they are largely covered in Birka III, but some interesting and relevant images.
- Text: http://historiska.se/birka/digitala-resurser/filer/pdf/Birka_I_Text.pdf
- Tafeln (Plates): http://historiska.se/birka/digitala-resurser/filer/pdf/Birka_I_Tafeln.pdf
- Hägg, Inga. “Mantel Och Kjortel I Vikingatidens Dräkt.” Fornvännen 66 (1971): 141-53.
- Swedish text, German summary.
- “Mantel and Gown in Viking Period Costume.” Brooches and trim and their similarities to Oriental and Eastern European costume. Specifically calls out that posaments and tablet weaving was used on women’s graves as well as men’s (p 150). Compares posaments to a costume from Estonia (Figure 16).
- Not a lot of information directly about the posaments, other than their comparison to the Estonian example. Several nice pictures of tablet woven bands and posaments (Figure 17). (Unrelated to posaments – interesting example of coat with front “bars” done in leather. Figure 12.)
- Hägg, Inga, and Ingmar Jansson. Kvinnodräkten I Birka: Livplaggens Rekonstruktion På Grundval Av Det Arkeologiska Materialet. Uppsala: Uppsala University, Institute of North European Archaeology, 1974.
- Swedish text.
- The Women’s Costume In Birka: The Reconstruction Of Life Garments Based On The Archaeological Material.
- Discussion of the textile remnants from female graves. Includes possible layouts for underdresses and possible construction of the overdresses. Much of the information is based on remnants on oval brooches. Of particular interest is Figure 38 (page 53) which shows various different edge treatments for apron dresses, including edge binding, applied cords, and applied trim, including from grave BJ563 which appears to be a linen overdress. Posament material is limited to a small section on page 91. She does acknowledge that posament work is rare in female graves, but not unknown. She specifically calls out graves where metal wire fragments may be associated with some sort of headgear, including “557 (P27, St 14), 559 (St 13), 619, 739 (P22), 630, 757 (P), 750 (P16, St 21), 838 (P21), 840 (P12), 950 (P), 964 (St 20), 966 (P), och 983 (P).”
- Limited information about posaments in particular, but useful for seeing posaments within the context of women’s dress at Birka. Contrary to some beliefs, posaments are not solely a male rank signifier, they are found in female-only graves as well.
- Hägg, Inga. “Birkas Orientaliska Praktplagg.” Fornvännen 78 (1983): 204-23.
- Swedish text, German summary, English abstract. Captions in Swedish and German.
- Discusses the Oriental-style caftans that were decorated with posaments. Silk girdles with metal (including posament) terminals could be used to close the caftans. Microscopic examination of the posament wires does not show a difference in their coarseness, in contract to Geijer’s statements (1980). Similar Byzantine works appear to be of lahn-type silver and gold threads, not the drawn work of the Birka posaments (Stegemann 1901; Schmedding 1978). Mentions Swiss relic pouches with posament-type materials made of silk rather than gold or silver (p 212). Image of knots from Sitten, Switzerland, Figure 2, page 213. Specific knots may have been related to specific ranks (P 18-20, P 24, St 29 and St 30) (p 213, see Boucher, F. 1967. A History of Coslume in the West (Histoire du coslume en Occident de fantiquitc ä nos jours) London.). Birka graves 464, 735 and 832 have small silk pouches (and 464 a “needlecase”) that may have been reliquaries – also consider the pouches with metal deer embroideries. Seven men’s graves with a A-type (cone-shaped) headdress (four also included gamespieces), one men’s grave with a B-type (rounded) headdress and a game board (886), and one with an indeterminate type headdress and a gameboard (750). Two graves have board games but no headdress.
- Long article, should get properly translated at some point. Refers to Arne, T. J. 1914 and Schmedding, B. 1978 – see other reviews on the page. of particular import, the Sitten knots are not metal – they are silk and linen. Unrelated to posaments, also mentions fur trimmings – marten, beaver and “ekorrpäls.” (p 208).
- Hägg, Inga. “Die Tracht.” Birka II 2 (1986): 51-72. THIS ENTRY IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
- German text
- Discussion of the clothing at Birka, including explanations for the differing survival of textiles in men’s and women’s graves.Table 1 and Figure 1 show distribution of various textiles in the graves, including the posaments. Discusses the placement of posament bands (around the head, ) and lists posaments that are identified on grave plans (750, 707, 823, 845, 946, and 967). Specifically calls out graves 823 and 845 as graves where a headband is attached to remnants of silk. Other posaments on silk: 660, 838, 943. Still need to translate page 67-end, starting with 5. Männertracht
- Suggests 946 has a posament on a cap as well as posament associated with a wool base (same garment? unclear – I need to check grave plans). (Unrelated to posaments: Figure 3 shows the cord near the top of an apron dress. The text discusses women’s coats.)
- Hägg, Inga. “Härskarsymbolik i Birkadräkten.” Dragt og magt (2003): 14-27.
- Swedish text, short English summary, captions in Swedish and English.
- Discusses the social implications of the posament and other high-status textile materials (tablet-woven bands, padded cuffs, embroidered pouches). Points out that assessments of the status of the graves often does not take into account the perishable items (particularly clothing) that are no longer present. The result is a skewed understanding of the deceased’s status. Christian burial practice may also influence the findings. Discusses the similarity between rank and structure at the Byzantine court and in the religious hierarchy. Compares the Birka posaments to those from Siden and an illustration of a belt belonging to Emperor Otto IV. Posaments on the edges of caftans are proposed to be tintinnabula, pomegranates, or mala punica.
Nice pictures of several posament pieces. The silk pouches embroidered with deer may have been reliquaries. Proposes that these rich graves were not just wealthy, but those with diadems were likely to be princely and represent the highest levels of Birka society. The graves with posaments but no diadems are proposed to be high court officials and family. Admits results are provisional and much more work remains to be done.
- Hägg implies that Geijer conflated the Birka-style tabletwoven bands (with paired silver wires) with the Anglo-Saxon and other tabletwoven bands (with lahn silver threads for brocading). Hägg’s comparisons to the posaments from Siden and Otto IV are problematic because the Siden example is dated to the 13th century and Otto IV from the 12-13th century. The difficulty with identifying the posaments as tintinnabula is that, when reconstructed, the posaments do not produce a bell-like sound when struck against each other or the ground. Even if the three-sided posaments had contained some small item, the sides of the posaments seem to have been filled with an organic material that would not be conducive to producing a bell-like sound. Regardless of their use, the identification of the deer pouches as Christian is very likely correct.
- Krag, A. H. “Christian influences and symbols of power in textiles from Viking Age Denmark. Christian influence from the continent.” Ancient textiles. Production, craft and society. Oxford (2007): 237-243. (pages 239-241 (including figure 38.4 on page 40) discuss the Ladby posaments and stickerei)
- English text
- Krag does not differentiate between the posaments and stickerei and calls them all passementerie. She claims they were used as fasteners or maybe “tintinnabula or mala punica, small bells.” She believes Ladby to have “Byzantine influence, presumably relayed via the royal house of Rus’ in Kiev.”
- As noted above under Hägg’s “Härskarsymbolik i Birkadräkten,” posaments and stickerei would not have made appropriate bell-like noises and the examples Krag cites from Birks are spaced too far apart for the posaments to touch, so this interpretation is extremely unlikely to be correct. The association of the costume at Ladby with a caftan and Byzantine influences is likely correct
- Larsson, Annika. Klädd Krigare: Skifte I Skandinaviskt Dräktskick Kring År 1000. PhD diss., Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet, 2007.
- Swedish text, very limited English summary.
- Dissertation published by Uppsala University. Summary of knowledge thus far, including a review of Geijer’s work. Reiterates that the posaments could be used on headdresses (particularly the gold pieces) and on bags and other accessories. She reports that about half of the silver or gold posaments are used as a “diadem” or other head decoration (includes at least P1, P2, P4, P10, P12, and P21). Posaments on silk reported in eight graves (per Geijer – includes graves 710, 619). She proposes four uses for the posaments – diadems, sliding knots on purses and other drawstrings, decorations on leather or fabric belts (couched wire similar to the Sami style) and as a finishing material (cuffs and seams). Posaments are often found in male graves and equestrian graves, but are one quarter of the posaments graves are female. Coins associated with posament graves are almost 3/4 from the Arab Caliphate. She includes a list of known posaments:
- Valsgårde, boatgrave 12 – cuff decoration and possible posament work similar to the Birka posaments, if on a larger scale – a silver wire of about 0.2mm spun around a yellow z-spun yarn.
- Ladby ship grave (Denmark) – slip knots and braid
- Vagnsnes (Bergen Museum) – gold four plait braid
- Väskinde, Gotland – silver spiral around the head – wire diameter 0.05mm wide, overall spiral diameter 0.2mm. Also some stickerei work.
- Ihregravfältet, Gotland – 3 male graves with posaments – grave 84 (3 small sliding knots), grave 108 (3 knots plus additional wirework of unclear character), and grave 112 (P1, P2, & P3)
- Hedeby – slip knot, possibly two – spiral silver – diameter = 0.2mm. Spiral wire also on an awl’s handle, a knife’s handle, and a stone.
- Mammen – possible posament, but questionable
- Ormknös, Björkö – spiral silver slip knots and silver drawn wire forming “loop braids” like in the Valsgårde cuffs.
- Birka – at least 45 graves
- Excellent summary of the material, but I am inclined to be cautious about her interpretations. (This is the Annika Larsson of the “sexy Viking” interpretation that was widely discussed a few years ago.) Her suggestion that most of the posments were associated with accessories that may not have been on the deceased’s body at the time of burial (on pouches, bags, or on other items stored in bundles or chests) seems to be sound. While there are finds of loose posament wire, I will need to examine Stolpe’s grave plans more closely to see if there is any merit to her suggestion that some of the posament wire was used in a couched manner similar to the Sami embroidery. Her list of posaments and probable posaments is incomplete.
- Strand, Eva Birgitta Andersson. “Northerners Global Travellers in the Viking Age.” In Global Textile Encounters. OxBow Press, 2015.
- English text
- Touches very shortly on the posament work in Birka, especially on grave 944. Includes photographs of the Chinese silk and attached posament (non-seam finished end) – in color so evidence of the gold can be seen.
- Very little content that has not been extensively covered elsewhere – posaments are just a side note. Inexplicably calls the spiral wire “silver rings.” Photos of the silk from 944 are excellent.
- “Birka Och Hovgården.” Swedish National Heritage Board. August 4, 2014. Accessed January 28, 2016.
- Swedish text.
- Basic background information about the settlements at Birka and Hovgården, the royal residence across the bay from Birka.
- Holmqvist, Wilhelm, and Karl-Erik Granath. Swedish Vikings on Helgö and Birka. Swedish Booksellers’ Ass, 1979.
- Text in English
- Not a scholarly text. No discussion of posaments. One worthwhile photo.
- Exceptional photo of the “hollow cages” from grave 581 (categorized as stickereien, but posament-style braids at the top). Most of the cages are a little blurry, but the front one is well in focus and is laid so one can see the seam up one side where the weave was either joined or repaired.
- Dreyspring, Brigitte , Ina Meißner, and Sigrun Thiel. “Neueste Erkenntnisse zu den historischen Textilien der Kaiser und König aus dem Dom zu Speyer.” In NESAT XI, 213-20. Leidorf: VML, 2013.
- German text
- Report of a shoe belonging to Philip of Swabia (d.1208) what includes gold and silver drawn wire embroidery as well as silk and gold lahn tabletwoven braids.
- This example is later than ideal for our studies, but is a beautiful example showcasing two ways of incorporating precious metals into a textile.
- Hall, R. A. “A silver appliqué from St. Mary Bishophill Senior, York.” (1998).
- English text
- Report of a silver (probably drawn) wire square “celtic knot.” It is 18mm long on each side and weighs 0.91 g. The have a regular circular cross-section (diameter o.5mm) but there are no surface details such as drawing marks. The square is actually made of six pieces of wire interlaced together to give the impression of double stranded plait. The interlace pattern is also in the stonework at St Mary’s Bishophill Senior. The piece was found in a disturbed layer but has been tentatively dated as early 10th century.
- The form is similar to, but contains fewer passes than, P18 and is constructed of solid, not spiral, wire. Its similar construction, size, and probable association with textiles/costume is what leads me to consider it a posament, though not identical to any of the extant Birka examples.
- Lundgren, Mats. “Två Typer Av Silverband Från En Ryttargrav På Gotland.” Fornvännen, 1975, 144-46.
- Swedish text, English summary. Swedish and English captions.
- Report of the equestrian grave at Västkinde, Gotland. Posament work on the head and some stickerei work on the shoulder is discussed. The metalwork on the skull was a ~0.05 silver wire around a thin core to form a spiral of about 0.2mm wide. It was “diagonally plaited”to a width of about 6.7mm and a length of 1.2 meters and was attached to some sort of headwear. 250m of the 0.05mm wire would have been needed to make this braid.
- The stickerei technique is discussed and illustrated in Birka III, but the braid is not and the image/description in this article is frustratingly unclear. (My translation, from page 146: “If you follow a strand from one edge, it is used first as a “weft thread” until it gets to the center. There it changes function and is used as a “warp” until it reaches the second edge where it is added back in as “weft”.) The Nylén article has a clearer image of the braid and clarifies some of the construction. The most impressive thing about this find, I think, is the sheer length of the amazingly fine wire that would have been needed to produce this piece.
- Nylén, Erik. “Documentation and Preservation : Technical Development in Swedish Archaeology.” Fornvännen, 1975, 213-23.
- English text, Swedish summary. English and Swedish captions.
- This article is devoted to the 1970’s state-of-the-art documentation and preservation techniques using X-ray.
- This article is included explicitly for Figure 6, which provides a much more clear picture of the “diagonal braid” from the Västkinde, Gotland equestrian grave.
- Posnansky, Merrick. The Pagan Danish Barrow Cemetery at Heath Wood, Ingleby. Archaeological Society, 1956.
- English text
- Report on excavation of selected barrows in Heath Wood, Ingleby, near Derby, England. The cemetery dates from c878-900CE and has been identified as belonging to recent Danish or Swedish immigrants. The finds include one small length of (silver?) wire embroidery in the Ösenstich technique.
- The embroidery is very similar to Ösenstich examples from Birka (St. 7 in Birka III) and several found on Gotland.
- Stenberger, Mårten. Das Gräberfeld bei Ihre im Kirchspiel Hellvi auf Gotland Acta Arch 32 1961. (Stenberger, M. “The Burial Ground Near Ihrein the Parish of Hellvi on Gotland.” Acta Archaeologica 32 (1961): 1.)
- German text
- Posament and silver braids from Hellvi in the north of Gotland. Hellvi burial ground has at least 600 Viking-age graves, some of which have been destroyed, plundered, or otherwise disturbed. Some illustrations are provided, but the pictures are not very clear.
- Of particular interest are graves 84, 111, and 112. Grave 84 contains three small knots of silver wire, which are pretty clearly posaments of the Turks head knot variety. Graves 111 and 112 contain silver band fragments, but the descriptions and photos are too vague to positively identify them. Grave 112 also has an interesting tasseled belt with bronze spiral decorations.
Other Metal Trimmings and Tools
- Brorsson, Torbjörn. “In the Workshop of the Viking Age Goldsmith : Gold- and Silverwork at Borgeby in Scania, Southern Sweden.” 1998, 225-39.
- English text, Swedish summary.
- Evidence for an 11th century goldsmith’s workshop. Only silver wire is probably for soldering. Gold, silver, and copper remains found.
- Not directly related to posament work, but the article describes some of the tools and techniques available to the Norse jeweler.
- Duczko, Wladyslaw. “Birka V.” The filigree and granulation work of the viking period–An analysis of the material from Björkö (1985).
- English text
- An overview of the granulation and filigree work from Birka, including the production of the drawn and beaded wires. Interesting discussions of filing wires into beads and the use of an organarium. Images of the filigree and granulation work include electron microscope pictures. Also of interest is the late 9th century draw plate from Stara Ladoga with 78 holes, including holes down to 0.2mm in diameter (page 17).
- There are some parallels between filigree and posaments, particularly since filigree work makes frequent use of paired wires. Of particular interest is the discussion of fine wires and draw plates (pages 16-17) since similarly very fine wires would be needed to produce the posament spiral wire. Some of the motifs in the filigree work are similar to posament knots in structure (e.g., see p98).
- Geijer, Agnes, and Holger Arbman. “En Detalj I Den Gotländska Mansdräkten under Vikingatiden.” Fornvännen, 1940, 145-54.
- Swedish text, English summary.
- A report of a Gotlandic man’s belt and other accessories. The belt has several bronze spirals (similar to the ones seen in Finnish dress) wound round thin strips of leather to create a tassel-type structure. There is also an embroidery of very fine silver wire (Figure 3), similar to Birka St 15 which was found near a circular (box?) brooch. Other Gotlandic grave finds are compared and contrasted, include a purse frame, a comb, animal-headed brooches, penannular brooches, pins, chains, and a key. At least some of the finds are from a mixed-gender grave
- No specific posaments, but spirals similar to those seen on the belt have also been found in conjunction with posaments. The silver edge “embroidery” is something to investigate further.
- Hedenstierna-Jonson, Charolette. “Borre Style Metalwork in the Material Culture of the Birka Warriors : An Apotropaic Symbol.” Fornvännen 101, no. 5 (2006): 312-22.
- English text
- A discussion of Borre style metal decotations, which occur on many items, but not generally on offensice weapons, leading to the suggestions that they may have had a protective role. The knotwork in the Borre style includes pretzel knots and other knotwork similar to that seen in the posaments. Links to Oriental styles of dress and possible military insignia are discussed. Posament knots are compared side-by-side with metalwork.
- The Borre knotwork is an interesting parallel to the posaments – many of the same knots appear and the twinned ribbon appearance of the metalwork closely follows the doubled working lines seen in most posaments. The Borre metalwork could also be a source of information about plausible uses for the posaments and additional posament knots. The citations regarding similar Byzantine and Russian finds should be further investigated and possibly added to this bibliography (Stephens Crawford 1990; Schulze Dörrlamm 2002, Jansson 1988; Shepard 1995; Hedea – ger Krag 2004).
- Østergård, E. “Textilfragmenterne fra Mammengraven.” Mammen. Grav, kunst og samfund i vikingetid. Jysk Arkæologisk Selskab, Højbjerg (1991): 123-138.
- Swedish text, English Summary. English and Swedish captions.
- Discusses the textiles of the Mammen find, including weaves, colors, and the metal fibers used in the textiles. Page 137, figures 18b and 18c shows the difference between the flattened metal wire around a fiber core (lan, 18b) or the drawn metal wire wound around a fiber core (18c). Includes close up images of the lahn used to construct the naalbinding in the cloak ribbons and strips of gold and silk in the tablet weaving on the armbands (p. 132-133) .
- Pictures of lahn from Mammen textiles are shown, but no pictures of the circular cross section spiral wire. (Not related to posaments, but this chapter also has fine color photographs of the raised fishbone stitch on the cushion (p. 136). A diagonally-braided woolen band (p. 131, figure 12, textile C136c) is remarkably similar to the band illustrated in Nylén 1975.
- Ohlsson, Ralf. “Hågaspännet : Tillverkning Nu Och För 3000 år Sedan.” Fornvännen, 1989, 207-15.
- Report on the effort required to reproduce a Bronze Age brooch from Haga, Uppland. Many interesting techniques and approximately 180 man-hours were used to produce the copy.
- This article is included because of the border of the brooch, which is a wire-wrapped in a way that seems similar in form to the later posament work. The scale is much larger (wire is drawn to a less than 1mm diameter flattened circle) and the application quite different, but interesting to consider.
- Schmedding, Brigitta. Mittelalterliche Textilien in Kirchen und Klöstern der Schweiz: Katalog. Stämpfli, 1978.
- Text in German. Captions limited to catalogue numbers. Tiny summaries (1/2 page each) in German, French, Italian, and English.
- Title is “Medieval textiles in churches and monasteries in Switzerland: catalog” and this is precisely what it offers. There is very little overall discussion, but a picture, summary, and critical statistics (period, size, material(s), location) on each item. Some include bibliographic information. Spans the 6-16th centuries, but predominantly material from 13-15th centuries. Glossary in the back.
- This book is useful to the study of posaments as it provides illustrations and details on items that are often compared to the Birka posaments, in particular the fragment from Sitten (Kat. Nr. 283, pages 297-298). However, that piece is a polychrome linen and silk piece, NOT precious metal. Interestingly, there is a 10-11th century Byzantine piece (Kat. Nr. 14, pages 29-31) that DOES have wire-based woven balls, but those are not of the same sort as the Birka examples. Also of interest to other fiber artists as there are interesting weaves, embroideries, and finishings. Includes scraps of fabric, reliquary bags, shoes, embroideries, calligraphy, and more.
- Söderberg, Anders. “A Viking Period Silver Workshop in Fröjel, Gotland : Korta Meddelanden.” Fornvännen 101, no. 1 (2006): 29-31.
- English text.
- A discussion of some of the metal-working technology found in this Gotlandic workshop. One of the furnaces has been carbon-dated to 970–1160 AD. Specifically, evidence for mercury-gilding and lead purification of silver alloys is presented.
- This article does not directly address posaments, rather provides some information about the metalworking techniques available to produce the fine silver used in the posament wires. It is likely that much of the silver used in Norse contexts was recycled and so a method of purifying it would have been important.
Need to obtain, translate, and/or review:
Have but need to translate and review:
- Gräslund, Anne-Sofie. “Beutel und Taschen.” Birka II 1 (1984): 141-154.
- Hägg, I. “Rangsymboliska element i vikingatida gravar.” Mammen. Grav, kunst og samfund I vikingetid. Jysk Arkæologisk Selskabs Skrifter XXVIII. Århus (1991): 155-162. (check p 158)
- Lindblom, Cecilia. “I döden klädd.” Analys av textil och läder från båtgrav12 i Valsgärde. CD-uppsats Arkeologsika forskningsinstitutet Stockholms universitet (2000). (see 20ff) (Lindblom, Cecilia. 2000. I döden klädd. Analys av textil och läderfragment från båtgrav 12, Valsgärde, Gamla Uppsala sn, Uppland. Dressed in death. An analysis of textile and leather fragments from boat-grave no. 12, Valsgärde, Gamla Uppsala parish, Uppland. STASC. 45 pp.)
Need to acquire from campus:
- Stegmann, H. 1901. Katalog der Gewebesammlung des Germanischen Nationalmuseums. 11. Stickereien, Spitzen und Posamentierarbeilen. Nurnberg.
Need source of these publications:
- Bollók, Á., M. Knotik, P. Langó, K. Nagy, and A. Türk. “Textile remnants in the archaeological heritage of the Carpathian Basin from the 10 th–11 th centuries.” Acta Archaeologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 60, no. 1 (2009): 147-221.
- Dunfjeld, Maja. Tjaalehtjimmie: form og innhold i sørsamisk ornamentikk. Institutt for konsthistorie, Univ., 2006. (high priority) (Dunfjeld, Maja 1995 Tjaalehtjimmie. Form og innhold I sörsamisk ornamentikk. Saemien Sijte, Snåsa – “Applied decoration: southern Lapp ornamentation as communication and aesthetic expression” AATA Number: 30-2973
Volume Number: 6 Issue Number: 1 Date of Publication: 1991 Page Numbers: 26-29 ISSN: 0801-5376 (Spor) Abstract: Discusses the geometric, stylistic ornamentation characteristic of the southern Lapps. Implements, tools, and clothing made of skin, wood, horn, and bone are decorated with this symbolic ornamentation. BCIN Number: 132390)
- Maixner, Birgit. “Die Tierstilverzierten Metall – Arbeiten Der Wikingerzeit Aus Birka Unter Besonderer Berücksichtigung Des Borrestils.” In Zwischen Tier Und Kreuz. Untersuchungen Zur Wikingerzeitlichen Ornamentik Im Ostseeraum., by Michael Müller-Wille and Birgit Maixner. Mainz, 2004.
- Schönbäck 1949: 6, Valsgårde 12 grave report – appears to be unpublished – ATA dnr. 2480/1949 (from KK)
Sources supposedly related to posaments that I did not find helpful:
- Boucher, F. 1967. A History of Costume in the West (Histoire du coslume en Occident de fantiquitc ä nos jours) London.
Other People’s Websites:
Linda Wåhlander – http://linda.forntida.se/?p=11015