Metal Content and Structure of Textiles in Textile Metal Threads in Croatia from 17th to 20th Century

Materials (Basel). 2021 Dec 29;15(1):251. doi: 10.3390/ma15010251.


Textile metal threads were used to decorate historical Croatian textiles. There are three basic types of metal threads usually used on historical textiles in Croatia. These are narrow stripes, wires, and combined metal textile yarn called "srma", made of metal thread spirally wrapped around the nonmetal textile yarn. Textile yarns were made of silk, linen, wool, or cotton. Metal threads were primarily made of gold, silver, and copper, and different alloys of these metals or threads are layered in the structure. Analysis of metal threads with three different methods was made and the most adequate method for the analysis of metal threads from historical textiles was established. Metal thread analysis was performed with scanning electron microscopy with an energy-dispersive X-ray detector (SEM-EDX), which was determined to be the most suitable for the analysis of historical textiles if cross-section analysis of metal threads is also performed. Textile threads from combined metal textile threads were analysed with a light microscope. This information of the metal threads' content and structure as well as the composition of textile thread can lead to an understanding of the technology of production threads and also temporal and spatial dating of textile objects which is helpful to conservators and restorers of valuable historical textiles.

Keywords: Croatian historical textiles; SEM-EDX; analysis; cross-section; textile metal threads.