De Martini weaving

  • Artisan


Damask is a type of single-color fabric with stylized or floral designs with a glossy-opaque effect, it is produced with a Jacquard loom, and is obtained with a single warp and a single weft.

The most suitable material for damask production is silk, although yarns made of cotton, cotton mixed with silk, and artificial fibers can be used.

Its birth takes place in China, but its name derives from the city of Damascus in Syria which was a great producer and exporter in the 12th century. In Italy the first to produce it are Venice and Genoa which, as maritime republics, had contacts with Damascus. Later those produced in Caserta, Catanzaro, Lucca, Palermo, Parma and Vicenza became famous. Given the precious material that composes it and the long and difficult processing, it was a precious fabric used by the church for vestments and priestly robes, in the courts for gala dresses and in the furnishing of palaces and palaces.

In the 17th century it began to be embellished with gold and silver threads and with relief effects, and it was from the expansion of these processes that brocade was born.
The art of weaving as early as the 15th century represented one of the main economic activities of the Republic of Genoa, thanks to the availability of raw materials that passed through the port.
The development of the Genoese textile sector quickly led to the birth of the Corporations and this caused the emanation of restrictive rules, in fact in the 16th century the textile craft, taught thanks to the establishment of the Silk University and the Apprenticeship corporation, became so prestigious that it is forbidden to emigrate and export any knowledge and technique outside the city walls, in order to concentrate the monopoly in the Republic.
In response to these restrictions, alternative solutions are sought by identifying in the weaving of the Riviera di Levante the trick to escape from the corporate constraints of the Genoese market.

Thus, from the 1500s, the production of Damascus and silk fabrics intensified in the pretty village of Lorsica, a hinterland town located in the Val Fontanabuona. In that area already in the middle of the century there were about 1000 family-run looms: the artisans made precious and unique fabrics, which adorned the residences of the sumptuous European courts.

The only weaving mill still active today in Lorsica is that of the De Martini family, which from generation to generation has kept the production of damask alive, also through the construction and patent of a unique loom in the world, capable of producing the same yarns that centuries ago they were woven by hand.

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