Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragments of a Roundel (Orbiculus)

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.124
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 21.5 cm × W. (weft) 20.5 cm (8 7/16 × 8 1/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave 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 small roundel features abstracted patterns in tapestry weave in beige, red, light orange, yellow, light green, light blue, tan, and brown. Though it is difficult to read the overall design due to the poor state of preservation, it is possible to discern vegetal and animal designs in the central field, including small green birds on the right and left sides of the inner field. The roundel’s frame consists of a string of multicolored ovals on the inside border, and remnants of rectangular blocks of color on the outside.

This textile likely served as a tunic decoration. Though highly abstracted, the various design elements likely refer to flowers, animals, and human figures, in keeping with the motifs seen on many other textile roundels (for example, BZ.1953.2.53, BZ.1953.2.113, BZ.1953.2.114, and BZ.1953.2.122). The loose spin of the underlying warp threads gives the piece a particularly crude, clunky quality.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.124
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 21.5 cm × W. (weft) 20.5 cm (8 7/16 × 8 1/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave 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.