Why sprang?

Through my work as a museumteacher at the Drents Museum in Assen. I learned about the technique sprang. The museum has several Bog bodies in it’s collection including ‘the Yde girl’. She was only 16 years old when she was strangled with a sprangband and her body placed in the bog probably as a sacrafice. When she was found she still had the sprangband fixed around her throat. Because of the Yde girl is part of the collection, learning the sprang technique is an activity in the discovery room for children. That is why I first learned the technique (special thanks to ms. Bos.) but as a member of Byfrost I learned more and more about sprang and have been hooked ever since. A link at the bottom of this page will lead you to an explanation of how the technique sprang works.


Sprang is a very old technique. The origin of sprang out dates the weaving technique.It is a logical though unproven theory that weaving was developed from sprang. Some people call sprang the mother of all textile techniques. The oldest archaeology finds are dated about 1400 years B.C. (brons-age). These are mostly hairnets and caps, but from later periods we also know belts, bags, stocking, tobacco pouches and many other articles. Like many technique’s it has been invented, used, forgotten and re-invented on many different places in the world. In different regions of the world, like parts of Scandinavia and countries like Peru and Moldavia the technique was never lost. It still had a place in the folklore of these regions. What we know about the technique today is partly based on the knowledge found in these countries. The other part is archaeology. Finds from the brons- and iron age or roman and mediaeval periods are rare. The materials used are rarely preserved. This means we only have a fragmented picture of what of articles the people of these early times made with this technique and which paters they used.

Egyptian Braiding

Some finds from Egypt made in the late 19th century were the reason the technique was rediscovered in the Netherlands. It is also why in the Netherlands the technique was first known as Egyptian Braiding. Later when archaeologists realised the this was the same technique as still used in Sweden they found that the name sprang was much more accurate. The name sprang is used in German, Danish and English. In the Netherlands mevr. E Siewertsz van Reezema, who wrote a book on the subject of sprang (Title: Egyptisch vlechtwerk) was largely responsible for spreading the knowledge about this old braiding technique. It was even taught on several schools for textile art. During the 70’s the technique was removed from the curriculum. Today there is only a small group of people who know the technique. Most of these people learned it during there education in textile art or are (like me) interested in experimental archaeology.

tabaksbuidelModern sprang

Even so, the technique sprang has died out not to long ago before the rediscovery. In the 18th and 19th century the officers sashes for the higher military were made in the sprang technique. Closer to (my) house in Groningen. Until the 19th century it was custom in this province  that the men kept their chewing tobacco in specially made tobacco pouches. The hole in the pouch through witch the Tobacco could be taken out was closed with a metal ring. These pouches were Always made in the sprangtechnique, because sprang could easily be stretched. On the photo you see a modern replica made by ms. Bos. Some of her sprangpieces I have put on the site.

Volg het bord Textile~Sprang van DenBlauwen op Pinterest.

“Sprang, egyptisch vlechten” ~ Fenny Nijman

“Sprang, een oude vlechttechniek” ~ Tine Abrahamsson

“Egyptisch vlechtwerk” ~ E. Siewertsz van Reezema

“The techniques of sprang” ~ Peter Collingwood
Some of these titels like Fenny Nijman’s are not difficult to find, others are more rare. When you are looking for a specific titel, but can’t find it, please send an email, maybe we can help…

1 Comment

  1. Goedemiddag,
    Voor een van mijn clienten ben ik op zoek naar een goede bestemming voor haar vlechtewetken en boeken over sprangen, egyptisch vlechten. Ze gaat verhuizen en heeft geen plek meer voor haar verzameling zelfgemaakt stukken en enkele stukken die ze heeft gekocht (o.a. een officierssjerp). Ze bewaart alles in een stuk of 10 grote zuurvrije dozen.
    Kunt u ons verder helpen?
    Met riendelijke groet,
    Liesbeth Hörmann


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