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Stratum plus. 2017. No5

O. V. Orfinskaya (Moscow, Russian Federation)

The Birth and Death of Samite, a Silk Fabric

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Pages: 337-346

This paper proposes hypothesis for the spread of a new textile technique, i. e. the weft-faced compound twill (samit), in the West. Phases of the formation of its structure are outlined. The emergence of complex silk fabrics initiated the appearance of the draw-loom. Finds of the samite fabrics in China imply the spread of this commodity from East to West. It seems likely that it was accompanied by weaving techniques brought by weavers with their looms. A certain textile culture was formed in Sogdiana lying between East and West in the early Middle Ages, yet the issue of the so-called ‘Sogdian silk’ remains controversial. A whole group of the samite fabrics from North Caucasian cemeteries cannot be attributed as Byzantine. Their provenance is unknown. Were they Sogdian? The dissappearance of the weft-faced compound twill was due to many factors, including the emergence of a new kind of fabric, i. e. lampas.

Keywords: Mediterranean, Byzantium, China, Sogdiana, Great Silk Route, Early Middle Ages, silks, weft-faced compound twill, samite, Sogdian silk, draw-loom, weaving, textile techniques

Information about author:

Olga Orfinskaya
(Moscow, Russian Federation). Candidate of Historical Sciences. Center for Egyptological Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Lenin Ave, 29/8, Moscow, 119071, Russian Federation
E-mail: [email protected]

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