Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Some embroidered cloth from Kloster Isenhagen

Again a post on Kloster Isenhagen at the southern Luneburger moor in Germany ... and some more treasures of this convent will follow. There are several medieval embroidered tapestries and table cloths on display at Kloster Isenhagen dating from the 14th and early 15th century. Some of the embroideries have so-called brick stitch patterns, geometric patterns of repeated lines that are used to fill or divide parts of the embroidered cloth.

This cloth measures 54 cm with and consists of two fragments that are together more than 2 meter long. It dates form the start of the 15th century and has likely been a cloth for a refectory table. The cloth is made of red linen with embroidered images of angels and saints in silk. The cloth is divided into parts by rows of brick stitch patterns.

Some details from the edges of a linen altar cloth of 1,02 by 2,80 m. Embroidered images of angels, St Paul (with key), female saints, St George killing a dragon, a king and Maria with child in silk.

 A brick stitch pattern of the same hanging.
This linen measures 1.61 by 1 m and dates from 1350. Most (silk) embroidered scenes in the middle show animals or have something to do with Christ On the edges of the hanging are alternating (hooded) heads and heraldic shields.

  Detail of this linen hanging showing a man wearing the hood in an alternative way.

 Detail of the top of a hanging for an altar showing a brick stitch pattern and a small dragon. Dated 1300. Silk on linen.

An wool embroidered cushion for a bank dating between the 14th and 15th century. The wool is embroidered on a linen background. One of three cushions which were found in the church of the convent in 1962.

This is not an embroidered cloth, but a related item. This heavily decorated strip (Furleger in German) was used at the front of the altar as a weight for the (embroidered) altar cloth. It is made of leather and decorated with gilded metal medallions, pearls, silver, coral and pieces of coloured glass. The height is 10 cm.

Another "Furleger" with gilded leather and white eagles and added pearls. The height is 9 cm. Both furleger date from the second half of the fourteenth century.


  1. thanks for posting those, they're interesting examples

  2. I was curious about the embroidered cushion with the heraldry. In your description above, you have that it is wool embroidered. In the book "Bilder aus Kloster Isenhagen" they have a photo of a similar cushion, perhaps one of three, and describe it as being embroidered with silk. Was there a particular reason why you thought it was wool? Am just curious which it is, or if maybe the different cushions are embroidered with different materials. Thank you!

    1. My apologies for the late reply. Silk is a very fine thread, and has a shiny appearance. The threads in this cushion are much thicker and they are not as shiny as silk. The appearance of the thread and the type of embroidery is like that of the woolen tapestries at nearby Kloster Wienhausen.
      Also kloster Isanhagen was considered one of the poorer Luneburger convents, which makes silk probably too expensive to acquire.