Damask: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Italian silk polychrome damasks, 14th century.

Damask (Arabic: دمسق‎) is a reversible figured fabric of silk, wool, linen, cotton, or synthetic fibers, with a pattern formed by weaving. Damasks are woven with one warp yarn and one weft yarn, usually with the pattern in warp-faced satin weave and the ground in weft-faced or sateen weave. Twill damasks include a twill-woven ground or pattern.[1][2]



Damasks were one of the five basic weaving techniques of the Byzantine and Islamic weaving centres of the early Middle Ages,[3] and derive their name from their supposed origin in the city of Damascus, Syria.[4] Damasks were scarce after the ninth century outside of Islamic Spain, but were revived in some places in the thirteenth century.[5] By the fourteenth century, damasks were being woven on draw looms in Italy. From the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, most damasks were woven in a single colour, with a glossy warp-faced satin pattern against a duller ground. Two-colour damasks had contrasting colour warps and wefts, and polychrome damasks added gold and other metallic threads or additional colors as supplemental brocading wefts. Medieval damasks were usually woven in silk, but wool and linen damasks were also woven.[2][4]

Modern uses

Damask weaves are commonly produced today in monochromatic (single-colour) weaves in silk, linen or linen-type synthetic fabrics which feature patterns of flowers, fruit, and other designs. The long floats of satin-woven warp and weft threads cause soft highlights on the fabric which reflect light differently according to the position of the observer (a property known as "iridescence"). Damask weaves are most commonly found in table linens, but are also used for clothing and furnishings. Modern damasks are woven on computerized Jacquard looms.[1]


  1. ^ a b Kadolph 2007, p. 251
  2. ^ a b Monnas 2008, p. 295
  3. ^ The five weaves were damask, tabby, twill, lampas and tapestry. See Jenkins 2003, p. 343
  4. ^ a b Monnas 2008, p. 299
  5. ^ Jenkins 2003, p. 343


  • Jenkins, David, ed.: The Cambridge History of Western Textiles, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN 0521341078
  • Kadolph, Sara J., ed.: Textiles, 10th edition, Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2007, ISBN 0131187694
  • Monnas, Lisa. Merchants, Princes and Painters: Silk Fabrics in Italian and Northern Paintings 1300-1550. London and New Haven, Yale University Press, 2008

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

DAMASK, the technical term applied to certain distinct types of fabric. The term owes its origin to the ornamental silk fabrics of Damascus, fabrics which were elaborately woven in colours, sometimes with the addition of gold and other metallic threads. At the present day it denotes a linen texture richly figured in the weaving with flowers, fruit, forms of animal life, and other types of ornament. "China, no doubt," says Dr Rock (Catalogue of Textile Fabrics, Victoria and Albert Museum), "was the first country to ornament its silken webs with a pattern. India, Persia, and Syria, then Byzantine Greece followed, but at long intervals between, in China's footsteps. Stuffs so figured brought with them to the West the name ` diaspron ' or diaper, bestowed upon them at Constantinople. But about the 12th century the city of Damascus, even then long celebrated for its looms, so far outstripped all other places for beauty of design, that her silken textiles were in demand everywhere; and thus, as often happens, traders fastened the name of damascen or damask upon every silken fabric richly wrought and curiously designed, no matter whether it came or not from Damascus." The term is perhaps now best known in reference to damask table-cloths, a species of figured cloth usually of flax or tow yarns, but sometimes made partly of cotton. The finer qualities are made of the best linen yarn, and, although the latter is of a brownish colour during the weaving processes, the ultimate fabric is pure white. The high lights in these cloths are obtained by long floats of warp and weft, and, as these are set at right angles, they reflect the light differently according to the angle of the rays of light; the effect changes also with the position of the observer. Subdued effects are produced by shorter floats of yarn, and sometimes by special weaves. Any subject, however intricate, can be copied by this method of weaving, provided that expense is no object. The finest results are obtained when the so-called double damask weaves are used. These weaves are shown under DIE, and it will be seen that each weave gives a maximum float of seven threads. (In some special cases a weave is used which gives a float of nine.) The small figure here shown to illustrate a small section of a damask design is composed of the two single damask weaves; these give a maximum float of four threads or picks. No shading is shown in the design, and this for two reasons - (1) the single damask weaves do not permit of elaborate shading, although some very good effects are obtainable; (2) the available space is not sufficiently large to show the method to advantage. The different single damask weaves used in the shading of these 4::::?::::n:1111 ::11 cloths appear, however, .....?.....:...? .¦¦¦..¦¦ ¦¦n¦¦¦¦n¦¦¦¦ ¦¦:¦:q¦¦ L¦ at the bottom of the ¦J ¦r?¦¦¦¦n¦¦gn¦gr ° "'"°"¦¦ °"' ' " "°? f igure, while between"?"?" ¦ ¦ ¦

' '? these and the design ¦¦' "proper there is an illus ' ? tration of the thirty-first :::: '¦' ..:. . q .n... pick interweaving with all ¦ ¦¦ ¦ ?¦¦¦¦?¦¦ the forty-eight threads. ¦w-n "'¦"'¦"? The principal British qq:;¦ Y¦r.Yq ' '¦oggnq ' 'n¦n Yu :.51 centres for fine damasks


¦? ¦¦ ?

_¦¦¦/? ?¦ ¦¦¦¦?¦¦ Y¦ ¦? are Belfast and Dunferm line, while the medium qualities are made in several places in Ireland, in a few places in England, and in the counties of Fife, Forfar and Perth in Scotland. Cotton damasks, which are made in Paisley, Glasgow, and several places in Lancashire, are used for toilet covers, table-cloths, and similar purposes. They are often ornamented with colours and sent to the Indian and West Indian markets. Silk damasks for curtains and upholstery decoration are made in the silk-weaving centres.

or Damascus Steel, a steel with a peculiar watered or streaked appearance, as seen in the blades of fine swords and other weapons of Oriental manufacture. One way of producing this appearance is to twist together strips of iron and steel of different quality and then weld them into a solid mass. A similar but inferior result may be obtained by etching with acid the surface of a metal, parts of which are protected by some greasy substance in such a way as to give the watered pattern desired. The art of producing damask steel has been generally practised in Oriental countries from a remote period, the most famous blades having come from Isfahan, Khorasan, and Shiraz in Persia.

the name of two popes.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun

Damask m.

  1. Damascus


Proper noun

Damask m.

  1. Damascus


Proper noun

Damask m.

  1. Damascus

Cyrillic spelling


Proper noun


  1. Damascus (the capital city of Syria)

This Slovene entry was created from the translations listed at Damascus. It may be less reliable than other entries, and may be missing parts of speech or additional senses. Please also see Damask in the Slovene Wiktionary. This notice will be removed when the entry is checked. (more information) November 2009


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