Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Band

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.13
Attribution and Date
Egypt, late 6th–8th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 21.6 cm × W. (warp) 178.4 cm (8 1/2 × 70 1/4 in.)

Technique and Material

Plain weave in polychrome wool 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 long, narrow band is dominated by a deep red, plain-weave ground, with the addition of brocade decoration in the weft in beige, green, and yellow. The pattern consists of a series of equally sized wreath medallions enclosing pairs of facing quadrupeds who trample small animals beneath their hooves. The medallion at the far right is truncated in half. Fringes survive along the selvages at the fragment’s short edges.

Although Deborah Thompson argued that the shape of this fragment suggested its use as a stole, this seems a hypothesis based on contemporary liturgical garments in this shape.D. Thompson, “Catalogue of Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection” (unpublished catalogue, Washington, DC, 1976), no. 74. Comparisons with other late antique garments suggest instead that the piece was part of a tunic decoration.K. Otavsky and M. ʻA. M. Salīm, Ägypten, Persien und Mesopotamien, Spanien und Nordafrika, vol. 1 of Mittelalterliche Textilien (Riggisberg, 1995), 34. Fragments of similar narrow bands in red and dark blue survive in numerous collections: these include pieces in Riggisberg,Riggisberg, Abegg-Stiftung, inv. 429; ibid., 33–34, no. 5. Mainz,Mainz, Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, O.22287, O.22288, O.22289: P. Linschied, Die frühbyzantischen Textilien des Römische-Germanischen Zentralmuseums (Mainz, 2016), 81–82, nos. 46–48. Berlin,Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, inv. 6695: O. Wulff and W. F. Volbach, Spätantike und koptische Stoffe aus ägyptischen Grabfunden in den Staatlichen Museen, Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum, Ägyptisches Museum, Schliemann-Sammlung (Berlin, 1926), 137, plate 117. Paris,Paris, Musée du Louvre, E 26197 and E 26268, former accession numbers AC 231 and AC 302: P. du Bourguet, Musée national du Louvre: Catalogue des étoffes coptes (Paris, 1964), 264–65, F 45 and F 46. and New York.New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002.239.25, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/474231.

The iconography of this particular group of textiles, however, is contested: Thompson suggests the piece depicts griffons, while Karel Otavsky and Muḥammad ʻAbbās Muḥammad Salīm argue that it depicts the Agnus Dei.Thompson, “Catalogue,” no. 74; Otavsky and Salīm, Ägypten, Persien und Mesopotamien, Spanien und Nordafrika, 34n60. Another possibility is that the textile draws from silks, which frequently depict floriated medallions filled with paired, facing equestrian figures who trample small animals underfoot (see, for example, BZ.1946.15). If this is indeed the source of the iconography, the peculiar shapes emerging from the backs of the large quadrupeds may represent highly abstracted human forms.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.13
Attribution and Date
Egypt, late 6th–8th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 21.6 cm × W. (warp) 178.4 cm (8 1/2 × 70 1/4 in.)

Technique and Material

Plain weave in polychrome wool 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. 74.

D. Thompson, “The Evolution of Two Traditional Coptic Tape Patterns: Further Observations on the Classification of Coptic Textiles,” JARCE 23 (1986): fig. 11.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.13
Attribution and Date
Egypt, late 6th–8th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 21.6 cm × W. (warp) 178.4 cm (8 1/2 × 70 1/4 in.)

Technique and Material

Plain weave in polychrome wool 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.