The term DAMASK is generally used to refer to ornamental silk fabrics, typically elaborately woven, perhaps incorporating; several colours, gold or other metallic threads. They are usually found today made from linen, silk or linen-based fabric with woven patterns that emphasise flowers, fruit, forms of animal life, and other types of ‘ornament’.
Usually it is made from one satin warp and one sateen weft interchanged and sometimes with a twill or other binding incorporated.
The name ‘Damask’ is derived from Damascus where, in the 12th century, it became the city famous for its production. Prior to that it was produced throughout Asia and known in the West as ‘diaspron’ or ‘diaper’.
Damask weaves in linen and cotton are currently most commonly found in table linens. Damask cloths for table or bedding purposes are most commonly made of flax but sometimes made partly of cotton or synthetic fibers. The finer damask textiles for these purposes are made of the best linen yarn. This yarn is a brown/ecru colour during weaving but the finished product it typically ivory/white. Highlights in the cloth are obtained by long floats of warp and weft, set at right angles, to differently reflect the light depending on the position of the observer. Subdued effects are produced by shorter floats of yarn. The finest results are obtained when double damask weaves are used.