Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tablet Weaves and Pottery

European textile tools and resources change rapidly with the progress of the Beakers and Battle Axe folk.  In fact, for all the talk about daggers, copper and drinking cups, the enduring impression of that time in Western Europe may have been Beaker clothing, especially that of the warrior elite.

Regarding the changes in the Sardinian textile industry, Luca Lai, 2008 says "...the increase in the symbolic importance of decorated textiles suggested for the 3rd millennium has also been connected to the Bell Beaker decorative motifs."  One component of that decorative dress may have been tablet borders, belts and straps.

Simple Tablet Weaves:  upper right (tablet-weavers.dreamwidth) & lower left (www.shelaghlewins.com)

You can see that the banding of Bell Beaker pottery looks very similar to the simpler tablet weaves.  The fact that so much of the Beaker pottery is broken up into bordered and equally-widthed geometric zones would seem to support the projection of tablet weave iconography on pottery.  In fact, bell beaker zoned bands could reflect the actual life size of tablet weaves given their general sizes.
I've waxingly opined on a number of decorative motifs with regards to gruits. [here], [here], [here],[here]

It's difficult to identify tablet weaving in the archaeological record.  The tablets and the weaves are perishable, so that leaves only a few avenues to research.  Using comparative analysis across distance and the very thin finds in the Hallstatt mines or the Tarim Basin, several authors have attempted to locate its origin in the Southern Caucasus or Western Iran in the 3rd or 4th millennium.

It is noteworthy that the hashed, chevron, diagonal, diamond and zig-zag motifs follow the order of complexity in tablet weaving, like motifs which adorn the pottery in Northwestern Iran beginning in the Pottery Neolithic.

See also:
Prehistoric Textiles: The Development of Cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze Age E.J.W. Barber [Link]

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