Knitted fragment

18th century, origin unknown. CH-Neuchâtel, Muséum d'Histoire naturelle (MS Inventory 9)

Sea-silk, plain knitting right, about 3.2 x 4.6 cm, border left 7 mm, rest cut selvedges

The fragment is glued with the right side on a base (5,3 x 5,7 cm). Handwritten inscription: Tissu fabriqué avec le byssus soyeux d’un Jambonneau ou Pinne marine, M. le Gen.l de Meuron


The history of this fragment is puzzling. The Cabinet d’histoire naturelle of Général Charles D. de Meuron (1736-1806) forms the foundation of the Musée d’ethnographie and the Muséum d’histoire naturelle in Neuchatel. In a late 18th century catalog of this Cabinet this fragment is described as «Morceau d’amadou des hottentots proven[an]t d'une plante, imitant un bas». Was this a confusion between different objects? In fact, from Amadou (tinder fungus, Fomes fomentarius) textiles are produced, but hardly knitted ones. In the mentioned catalog a Pinne marine is also listed. Possible so that the fragment and the shell belonged together.

In a publication of the Musée d'histoire naturelle in Neuchâtel of 1985, the fragment is shown, along with the women's glove (MS Inventory 8), a Pinna shell and a tuft of byssus: «Le petit échantillon de tissu provient des Antilles: c'est un des plus anciennes pièces du Musée puisqu'elle fut collectée en 1758 par Charles-Daniel de Meuron, alors jeune officier de la marine royale française.» However, it is likely that the fragment comes from Europe.


Sources: Dufour & Haenni, 1985, 2000 Kaehr



Knitted fragment
Knitted fragment, 18th c., origin unknown. CH-Neuchâtel, Muséum d'Histoire naturelle (MS Inventory 9)