Materials Lab Workshop: Byzantine Tapestry Weaving at Harvard Art Museums
Join Katie Taronas, Ph.D. candidate in Byzantine art history at Harvard, to learn about the tapestry weaving techniques used to create the vibrant and colorful Byzantine textiles of late antiquity.
The desert landscape of Egypt has preserved thousands of early Byzantine (3rd–7th century CE) garments and textile furnishings woven with elaborate scenes from Classical mythology, the Christian tradition, and the natural world. Taronas will offer insights on the history and techniques involved in the production of these textiles, which survive mainly as fragments in museum collections. Fabrics unearthed in burials were cut up and reconfigured by 20th-century art dealers to eliminate areas of damage or staining. This makes it difficult to understand their original appearance, patterns, and function.
The workshop will begin with participants looking closely at examples of early Byzantine textiles in the Art Study Center to learn about materials (linen and dyed wool), weave structure, and conservation challenges.