Pasek z Pnia/Brocaded belt from Pien

pien dabrowa chelminska

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 (grave no. 40/9). 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:

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 (if it existed at all, I currently have a suspicion there was no other weft).


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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