Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragment of a Hanging with Human Figure

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.101a–b
Attribution and Date
Egypt, ca. 4th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 33.5 cm × W. (weft) 15.5 cm (13 3/16 × 6 1/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Weft-loop pile in polychrome wool and undyed linen

Acquisition history

Crocker Collection, San Francisco, Mrs. William Henry Crocker (Ethel Willard Sperry Crocker, 1861–1934); Loaned to the San Francisco Museum of Art until 1953; Gift of Mrs. Andre de Limur (Ethel Mary Crocker de Limur, 1891–1964), Washington, DC, in 1953; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

Detailed dimensions

Height: 33.5 cm (warp direction)

Width: 15.5 cm (weft direction)

A: Head: 11.0 cm × 8.5 cm

B: Body: 23.5 cm × 15.5 cm

 

Materials

Composition: Weft-loop pile

Warp: Linen, single spun S-direction (S), 26–28/cm; undyed

Weft: Wool, 2 single spun S-direction (S), 4–6 loops/cm, length ca. 03.–0.5 cm; red, pink, blue, purple, beige (undyed?)

 

Ground: Plain weave

Warp: Linen, single spun S-direction (S), 26–28/cm; undyed

Weft: Linen, single spun S-direction (S), 6–8/cm; undyed

 

Technique

Weft-loop pile on plain-weave ground

 

Discussion

These two fragments were once part of a larger composition. They were woven in weft-loop pile in polychrome wool on a plain-weave ground in undyed linen. To create the design, the pile yarn was placed in an open plain-weave shed. At every second or third warp, the weft was pulled to the surface of the weaving and loops were formed. To hold the completed row of loops in place, three linen wefts were inserted in the same pile row. Each pile row is followed by a self-band consisting of three linen wefts, and two or three linen wefts in plain-weave. The final fabric resulted in a relatively coarse weave structure with four to six loops per centimeter. The textile’s composition would have been set against a field of a natural-colored plain weave ground (now missing), which is representative for these weavings.

Wrapped weft brocading in red, pink, purplish, and deep blue wool shapes the facial features. This technique involves carrying a thread over a group of warps and then passing it in the other direction under part of the group. It was used to create outlines in horizontal, vertical, and diagonal directions.

 

Condition

This composition comprises two fragments, a head (A) and a lower section (B), that looks like a clothed body (see further discussion in art historical section). There is a small fragment along the bottom edge of fragment B, which is detached. The edges of the pieces are fragile. The looped pile is abraded and worn, approximately measuring three to five millimeters in length. The facial features are still fairly well preserved. There is wool weft loss in large areas of fragment B, exposing the plain-weave linen ground. The color preservation is good.

Based on iconography, style, weave structure, the materials used, warp and weft count, and color palette, it is possible that these fragments can be associated with BZ.1953.2.102.

 

Conservation history

Mounted and framed with BZ.1953.2.102 (2004)

 

—Kathrin Colburn, August 2019

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.101a–b
Attribution and Date
Egypt, ca. 4th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 33.5 cm × W. (weft) 15.5 cm (13 3/16 × 6 1/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Weft-loop pile in polychrome wool and undyed linen

Acquisition history

Crocker Collection, San Francisco, Mrs. William Henry Crocker (Ethel Willard Sperry Crocker, 1861–1934); Loaned to the San Francisco Museum of Art until 1953; Gift of Mrs. Andre de Limur (Ethel Mary Crocker de Limur, 1891–1964), Washington, DC, in 1953; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

This composition comprises two fragments, not linked to each other, but possibly belonging to the same weaving. Fragment A shows the head of a man with rather short hair and it seems as if the textile tore along the contour of the man’s dark purple hair. His head is slightly turned to the right side. His large, wide open eyes also look toward his right. Two straight, parallel red lines, joined at the bottom by a horizontal line, indicate the nose and are continued in short horizontal lines between eyes and eyebrows. For the cheeks, pink wool is used. The mouth is woven as a slightly upward-curved purple line, which gives the impression of a little smile, with lips in red and pink. Only a few centimeters of his throat remain, articulated with a pink horizontal line. At the bottom the fragment terminates in an oval shape which gives the illusion of fitting to fragment B.

Fragment B has been cut to a rectangular shape, with the upper edge formed like a semicircle. The decorative parts of this fragment are barely visible across this surface, in red, purple, and beige woolen loops. Along the edge of this fragment, the woolen loops have been better preserved. On the right upper area there once was a motif in red, dark purple, and beige blocks, partly in right angle to each other. The dark purple loops along the bottom of the fragment represent the remains of another ornamental motif. However, no reconstruction of the motifs is possible.

The identity of the person on fragment A cannot be determined. Fragment B has no traces that indicate it once belonged to the body part of a figure. The pattern left over at the upper right side does not correspond to any particular motif or garment, and the only roughly corresponding curves at the bottom of A and the top of B do not necessarily indicate that they belong together. Fragment B could well belong to any other part of the hanging, or to an entirely different weft-loop hanging. However, as described under textile BZ.1953.2.100, the way the facial features are executed on fragment A this head could well be from the same hanging.

—Sabine Schrenk, March 2020

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.101a–b
Attribution and Date
Egypt, ca. 4th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 33.5 cm × W. (weft) 15.5 cm (13 3/16 × 6 1/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Weft-loop pile in polychrome wool and undyed linen

Acquisition history

Crocker Collection, San Francisco, Mrs. William Henry Crocker (Ethel Willard Sperry Crocker, 1861–1934); Loaned to the San Francisco Museum of Art until 1953; Gift of Mrs. Andre de Limur (Ethel Mary Crocker de Limur, 1891–1964), Washington, DC, in 1953; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

Washington, DC, The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, Woven Interiors: Furnishing Early Medieval Egypt, August 31, 2019—January 5, 2020.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.101a–b
Attribution and Date
Egypt, ca. 4th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 33.5 cm × W. (weft) 15.5 cm (13 3/16 × 6 1/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Weft-loop pile in polychrome wool and undyed linen

Acquisition history

Crocker Collection, San Francisco, Mrs. William Henry Crocker (Ethel Willard Sperry Crocker, 1861–1934); Loaned to the San Francisco Museum of Art until 1953; Gift of Mrs. Andre de Limur (Ethel Mary Crocker de Limur, 1891–1964), Washington, DC, in 1953; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

D. Thompson, “Catalogue of Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection” (unpublished catalogue, Washington, DC, 1976), no. 28.

G. Bühl, S. Krody, E. Dospěl Williams, Woven Interiors: Furnishing Early Medieval Egypt (Washington, DC, 2019), 92-3, no. 35.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.101a–b
Attribution and Date
Egypt, ca. 4th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 33.5 cm × W. (weft) 15.5 cm (13 3/16 × 6 1/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Weft-loop pile in polychrome wool and undyed linen

Acquisition history

Crocker Collection, San Francisco, Mrs. William Henry Crocker (Ethel Willard Sperry Crocker, 1861–1934); Loaned to the San Francisco Museum of Art until 1953; Gift of Mrs. Andre de Limur (Ethel Mary Crocker de Limur, 1891–1964), Washington, DC, in 1953; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.