Damask – weaving fit for a prince
The artistic weaving technique known as damask is said to have first been created in Damascus, from where it has also derived its name. It was the fabric woven for the fine clothing of princes and for purely decorative purposes. Today, damask is still regarded as one of the most elegant woven cloths.
Damask is usually of a uniform colour, with the pattern and/or design formed in warp satin on a ground of weft satin or the other way around. The effect is produced by the light being reflected in different ways from the warp and weft surfaces so that the pattern either appears glossy against a mat ground or mat against a glossy ground. The techniques may also be used for patterns with two colours, with an extremely elegant effect as result.
To cultivate, dress, spin and weave linen is an ancient art in Sweden, but the art of weaving patterned linen was hardly known here before the seventeenth century. Though, of course, the “hey-day” of lovers of beautiful things tempted skilful weavers here too. Queen Hedvig Eleonora ordered a large amount of tablecloths and napkins from some weavers in Stockholm in the year of 1696. This ensured that the Swedish linen damask industry got properly underway. Three napkins have in fact been preserved from the beginning of the eighteenth century showing the Queen’s crest, name in ciphers and with “three crowns” woven into.
Today, Klässbols weaving mill delivers tablecloths and napkins of linen damask with the Swedish “three crowns” woven into it, to Swedish embassies all over the world.