Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Roundel with an Erote Running with a Bird

 
Accession numberBZ.1943.8a
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–8th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 8.5 cm × W. (weft) 8.0 cm (3 3/8 × 3 1/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen on a plain-weave ground in blue wool

Acquisition history

Collection of the Byzantine Institute, to 1943; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

Detailed dimensions

Height: 8.5 cm (warp direction)

Width: 8.0 cm (weft direction)

Roundel: 7.5 cm × 7.0 cm

 

Materials

Composition: Tapestry weave

Warp: Wool, single spun S-direction (S), 11–12/cm; blue

Weft: Wool, single spun S-direction (S), 22–42/cm; pinkish beige, red, blue, green. Linen, single spun S-direction (S), 30–36/cm; undyed.

 

Ground: Plain weave

Warp: Wool, single spun S-direction (S), 12/cm; blue

Weft: Wool, single-spun, S-direction (S), 12/cm; blue. Linen, single-spun, S-direction (S).

 

Technique

Tapestry weave on plain-weave ground

 

Discussion

BZ.1943.8a is related in technique and composition to BZ.1943.8. Both fragments most likely belong to the same textile. Because BZ.1943.8a has not been on display, its color preservation is better. For example, the yellow, red, and green wool weft is more vivid. A small remnant of the original plain-weave ground is visible along the top edge of this fragment. On the reverse are a small number of weft floats, a technical detail that could not be observed on BZ.1943.8, as it is stitched to a support.

 

Condition

BZ.1943.8a is a fragment of a larger textile. There are holes and warp and weft loss. The edges are fraying. The color preservation is good. The textile fragment is not mounted and could be examined from both sides.

 

Conservation history

Cleaned (1949); stitched along the top edge to a fabric support and matted (2003).

 

—Kathrin Colburn, July 2019

 
Accession numberBZ.1943.8a
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–8th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 8.5 cm × W. (weft) 8.0 cm (3 3/8 × 3 1/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen on a plain-weave ground in blue wool

Acquisition history

Collection of the Byzantine Institute, to 1943; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

This small roundel contains a servant-erote running with a green bird, likely a duck. The servant-erote has red wings and wears a red loincloth and blue cap. The figure is set on a yellow ground, circumscribed by a thin, dark blue circle, with a wider yellow ring outside of that one. The roundel was once part of a larger textile with a dark blue ground, some of which remains at the edges. Indeed, it may have once been a part of BZ.1943.8, to which it is related in technique, as Kathrin Colburn points out, and iconography.

The motif of the servant-erote scurrying forth with a bird, presumably meant for feasting, points to themes of abundance found on curtains and other furnishing textiles such as BZ.1943.8. These scenes were desirable because they invoked prosperity. The bird on this roundel may be a duck, which was among the few animals that could be hunted year-round, ensuring a bounty even when plants had gone dormant.

—Jennifer L. Ball, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1943.8a
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–8th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 8.5 cm × W. (weft) 8.0 cm (3 3/8 × 3 1/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen on a plain-weave ground in blue wool

Acquisition history

Collection of the Byzantine Institute, to 1943; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

D. Thompson, “Catalogue of Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection” (unpublished catalogue, Washington, DC, 1976), no. 157a.

J. L. Ball, “Rich Interiors: The Remnant of a Hanging from Late Antique Egypt in the Collection of Dumbarton Oaks,” in Catalogue of the Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection, edited by G. Bühl and E. Dospěl Williams (Washington, DC, 2019) [= DOP 73 (2019)].

Accession numberBZ.1943.8a
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–8th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 8.5 cm × W. (weft) 8.0 cm (3 3/8 × 3 1/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen on a plain-weave ground in blue wool

Acquisition history

Collection of the Byzantine Institute, to 1943; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

Accession numberBZ.1943.8a
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–8th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 8.5 cm × W. (weft) 8.0 cm (3 3/8 × 3 1/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen on a plain-weave ground in blue wool

Acquisition history

Collection of the Byzantine Institute, to 1943; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.