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Title: The evolution of a craft : the use of metal threads in the decoration of late and post Byzantine ecclesiastical textiles
Author: Karatzani, Anna
ISNI:       0000 0001 3594 9775
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis investigates the morphological and technological characteristics of Byzantine-Greek metal threads used for the decoration of embroidered ecclesiastical textiles from the 13th to the 19th centuries AD. It examines the changes that have occurred in the materials and manufacturing techniques used in the production of metal threads after the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453 AD and throughout the Ottoman occupation until the late 19th century, when the independent Greek State was established. The research is based on the study and analytical examination of 290 metal thread samples obtained from 125 objects of Byzantine-Greek, Western European and Near Eastern origins. Optical microscopy, SEM/EDS surface and cross section analysis and EPMA/WDS cross section analysis have been used: to identify and record the morphological and technological characteristics of the threads to acquire quantitative information about the metal/alloys to identify and measure the surface coatings to measure the thickness of the strips and the diameter of wires and, finally, to identify the organic core threads. Two manufacturing techniques have been used throughout this period, strips cut from a metal sheet and drawn wires which were also rolled to produce strips. These techniques correspond to different elemental compositions silver-copper alloys were used for cut strips and pure or almost pure silver for wires and rolled strips. Furthermore, wires have been made of better refined silver than rolled strips. A clear connection was found between the materials and techniques used in Byzantine-Greek and Ottoman metal threads which are different from the European threads throughout the period examined. A complete photographic survey of all the objects and samples examined as well as the analytical results from the examination of these samples are also provided. Practically no systematic research existed on this subject prior to this study, and an art historic approach alone is not adequate to provide answers to technological questions related to the metal threads used in the decoration of the Greek-Orthodox ecclesiastical textiles. This thesis now provides the first comprehensive study of such textiles, identifying previously unknown significant patterns and changes in alloy used and composition over time. For this, an improved analytical methodology was developed, hopefully facilitating further research in this subject.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available