On parchement with beads and seed pearls
German, 13th Century Blue glass, red coral, gold and seed pearls (most salvaged/looted) on parchment with linen thread.
The two detached pieces are in the V&A collection, the one with the more colorful halo and still attached to the edging, is in a musuem in germany. The pair in the V&A appear for all intents and purposes to have been removed from the German piece and were sold in the late 40’s (war happens). I have worked up a comparison, they are as best I can deduce made by the same hand.
While they are technically two different pieces, I have decided to present them together as they are from the same work.
Text from “Beadwork, (Shire Album #57)”, Pamela Claburn“head in blue beads and coral”
“The american indians… here the beads are threaded and laid on the ground material. The attaching thread is quite seperate and is brought up from below and cathes down the thread between the two beads. this is in effect, a form of couching.” “Exactly the same method of attachment was used in the german beadwork of the 12th Century. Here it is combined with with the sewing on of single beads where the design required it, but it can be seen that are long strands of the same colours and only a very few single colors even in such detailed parts of the design as the faces. Six hundred years later the method was still being used”
Text from “Bead Embroidery”
By Joan Edwards.
“Long before needlewomen of the nineteenth century discovered the possibilities of beadwork, comparatively coarse beads had been used in various parts of Europe for embroidery for a very long time indeed. A great deal of work was done, for example, during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in Lower Saxony, examples of which can be seen in Hanover and Darmstadt. The beads were usually attached to vellum, and it has been suggested that the existence of this beadwork might-like the German whitework or “opus teutonicum” of the Middle Ages-be interpreted as a sign of poverty amongst the German convents at this time, and that the beads were perhaps a substitute for work in pearls, precious metals, and the coveted Byzantine enamels. Nevertheless, the vestments and hangings must have gleamed with considerable beauty in the dark, candle lit cathedrals and churches, shining through the dimness like the stained glass in the windows, and there seems little doubt that the designs were good and well drawn.”