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Catalogue of the Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection

Catalogue of the Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection

Edited by Gudrun Bühl and Elizabeth Dospěl Williams

Dumbarton Oaks’ collection of Byzantine and early Islamic textiles have never been systematically published. The objects, which include major monuments like Hestia Polyolbus, range in date from the second to the seventeenth century and emerged from the textile-making traditions of Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indian subcontinent, and the Byzantine heartlands. We look back on the legacy of the Dumbarton Oaks’ collections and our institution’s mission to publish the complete holdings of the Byzantine Collection. And we look forward to the possibilities of digital cataloguing formats in making scholarly research and publications timely, accessible, and connective.


To accompany the cataloguing project, in 2015 Dumbarton Oaks hosted a conference with the aim of exploring furnishing textiles in the late antique, Byzantine, and early Islamic periods. These essays were presented at that event, and all push against the limits of art-historical methodology in attempting to understand the context and uses of furnishing textiles during these periods.