Decorative textile belts
Tablet weaving - technology of tablet weaving is exceptional for its patterning possibilities; from simple lines and motifs to letters and complex animal or plant patterns. „Tablet“ (or „card“ in the US) is a plate, through which are threaded individual warp threads. Most often we encounter square tablets with four holes in all corners but there are also two holes, three-sided, six-sided, octagonal, etc. Most often the way of weaving is rotating each tablet by 90° forwards or backwards in various combinations according to particular pattern.
Origins of tablet weaving are not clear; for example debate is still going on about method of production of so-called „Rameses girdle“ made approximately in 1185 BC. The reason for small number of archaeological findings is organic origin of yarn, but often also of tablets themselves (wood, leather); there are tablets made of bones, ivory or bronze that were rather found. Today it is the easiest to use sturdy paper, like playing cards. More findings were preserved from area of the Roman Empire, Celtic civilization (patterns from Hochdorf), the Vikings (patterns from Birka) and Slavic civilization. Regarding today's Czech Republic, the oldest tablets (from 9th century) were found in Staré Město near Uherské Hradiště. A major development of the technology was in the Middle Ages, later it remains popular handcraft. Outside Europe, this technique was used in Africa and primarily throughout Asia. Tablet woven belts were used especially for decoration of garments, however, products of tablet weaving are characterized by strength and resistance and were used also as straps, belts, etc. The warp could also be hung on sides of standard loom for production of textiles so that the final fabric is already decorated (cloak found in Thorsbjerg). Material used for weaving was primarily easily colored wool, sometimes with silk, gold or silver threads; less often linen threads were used; cotton was used later in history.