Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Tunic Fragments

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.104
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 9.2 cm × W. (weft) 27.7 cm (3 5/8 × 10 7/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Polychrome wool ground with brocading in 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 rectangular fabric consists of two tapestry-woven fragments applied to a plain-weave ground in blue with beige stripes. The lower decorative fragment (BZ.1953.2.48) consists of a small strip in beige, red, green, blue, tan, and brown; its design features a zigzag pattern. The upper decorative fragment (BZ.1953.2.104) consists of a band depicting a central human bust, in beige, pink, red, yellow, pale green, green, light blue, blue, and dark blue. The figure is surrounded by registers of birds and floral patterns, and framed by a stepped pattern.

The shape of this fragment and its decorative details indicate that it comes from the sleeve of a tunic. However, it is uncertain whether the individual components were stitched together this way in antiquity, or whether they were assembled as part of a later conservation campaign to prepare the fragments for sale or display. Reused tapestry-woven bands are not uncommon on late antique textiles; numerous examples were recycled as backing fabrics for decorative elements like clavi and sleevebands.

The human figure on the upper tapestry-woven section has upraised arms, possibly a gesture of prayer (a similar pose appears in BZ.1973.33, which also features a richly costumed personage in bust form at center). A series of thin beige lines on the figure’s chest, over his shoulders, and in a vertical row to the left of medallion may represent the weavers’ efforts at rendering Greek or Coptic letters, perhaps emulating the labels that often accompany mythological, allegorical, or holy figures (see, for example, BZ.1956.2).

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.104
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 9.2 cm × W. (weft) 27.7 cm (3 5/8 × 10 7/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Polychrome wool ground with brocading in 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, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Ornament: Fragments of Byzantine Fashion, September 10, 2019—January 5, 2020.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.104
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 9.2 cm × W. (weft) 27.7 cm (3 5/8 × 10 7/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Polychrome wool ground with brocading in 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. 86.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.104
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 9.2 cm × W. (weft) 27.7 cm (3 5/8 × 10 7/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Polychrome wool ground with brocading in 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.

Related Content

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.104
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 9.2 cm × W. (weft) 27.7 cm (3 5/8 × 10 7/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Polychrome wool ground with brocading in 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.