Fabric with green fish.
Material: silk, flax
Proportions: 15 x 20 cm
Provenance and date: Spain, early 13th cent.
Fragments of the textile found in the reliquary
Soiled and contaminated with bacteria and mould, the textiles were found amidst bones and remains of the dilapidated bottom of the St Maurus' reliquary. Fragments of cloth used to be kept as relics and scraps of fabrics which used to cover various tiny skeletal fragments. Some of them were inserted into textile pouches. The largest textile fragments (blue-striped linen and silk fabric with green fish) covered the inner walls of this shrine.
Restoration works were implemented by the artist Jarmila Sikytová between 1995 and 1997, while the artistic and historical survey was carried out by Leonie von Wilckens.
Soon after having been unearthed, the reliquary was X-rayed in the Laboratory of Radiology at Roztoky near Prague. Some bacteria and moulds on the textile fragments, however, managed to survive the irradiation. At last, they were destroyed by disinfectant butanol vapours before the start of restoration procedures.
The restorer removed dust and attached mechanical impurities from the surface of the textile fragments with a fine brush, tweezers, as well as by suction. Then, she rested the fragments on a melinex foil and dipped them in distilled water and 20 percent solution of soapwort (for 15 minutes). After swabbing off the soapwort with cellulose cotton wool, she applied pure distilled water onto the textiles. As soon as the distilled water was swabbed off, she removed other solid impurities with tweezers. The applied foil enabled turning the fragments and cleaning them on both sides.
Some distorted fragments had to be levelled in a water bath. Then, the damp textiles had to be levelled and dried on glass rests. As to incomplete and damaged pouches, it was necessary to determine the shape and size of a poach made of the translucent silk fabric.