*Text excerpted from Strange Beauty: Issues in the Making and Meaning of Reliquaries, 400 - circa 1204, by Cynthia Hahn, The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012 (pp. 9-12).
And about that embroidery ...
The stitching around the slate beach stones is called shisha or shisheh embroidery. Shisheh means "glass" in Persian, referring to the glass pieces embroiderers originally employed; now this technique more commonly uses mirrored disks (the other name for this is "mirror work"). Reflective elements such as this are said to be an attempt to ward off the evil eye.
Whooooooo-ooooooooo-ooooooo (insert wiggly fingers here).
If you'd like to learn a simple version of this stitch, check out a comprehensive tutorial at Joyful Abode, then do yer own thang.
And for more "How To" posts from this blog, click on: "A history of chaos," "B sides," or "How to box & ship a quilt (like a Swede)" (more located under the sidebar's "How To" category). Most posts are visual explanations of embroidery or construction techniques, but others are explorations on how to be, so get your Smarty Pants on, or your Thinking Cap, or your Smock, or your Mad Scientist Goggles and get to work, people.
So damned much to learn. So little time.
Artist in Anchorage, Alaska, sometimes blogging about the collision of history, family & art, with the understanding that none exists without the other.