Brocaded band from Pień

A while ago, in one of the articles on about the discoveries from Pień, Poland, this grave find was mentioned (for example here) – a silk band, brocaded with gold-foil wrapped thread, dated to second half of 10th century – first quarter of 11th century. It was used as a belt and found on a child’s remains. I haven’t found any publication about it yet, that would give more details, such as technique, width, threads used etc. The photo below comes from following site:
pien dabrowa chelminska

I managed to solve the pattern, but I did not yet figure out the technique.

pien pattern

The brocading thread seems to go all the way through the background weave, while the bg weft doesn’t.


I tried to weave it on a mini loom with a  heddle. I am used to the brocading weft on just one side, like in the Birka bands, where – one could say – the brocading  weft lies on the bg weft. Here, the brocading weft would have to lie between the bg wefts. I tried, but this caused another problem – the bg weft was pushing the brocading weft too much apart (there were big gaps between the lines of brocade).

In the end, as the due date was coming near, I dropped the idea of solving the techinque, decided to keep the brocading on just one side, use double brocading thread to get more coverage (this probably contributed a lot to the streching of the pattern).


I think there was over 250 individual silk warp threads. I had to achieve 6,5 cm width and the silk I had was 60/2.


The weaving was going at an amazing speed of 5 mm an hour. At least there was no detangling to worry about.


Finally I wove 25 cm of this and I could present it to my lovely cousin, who’s reenacting a Rus princess.

I will try again one day to solve this mistery.



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