Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragment with Roundel (Orbiculus)

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.14
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 35.0 cm × W. (weft) 22.5 cm (13 3/4 × 8 7/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool on plain-weave ground in wool

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 fragment features a tapestry-woven medallion set in a plain-weave ground in beige, pink, red, green, blue-green, blue, dark blue, yellow-tan, and tan. The medallion is ovoid, with straight lines running parallel along two sides. The outer frame features an abstracted gemstone and pearl motif. At center, a small medallion encloses a standing figure surrounded by floral motifs. Stripes are woven in tapestry weave beneath the medallion; remnants of the reinforced selvage are visible at bottom.

It is difficult to tell the original function of this textile fragment. The size of the medallion and the presence of stripes along a surviving, finished edge indicates that it comes from the bottom of a textile. A comparative in Boston has been identified as a hanging, though this determination seems based only on the size of the piece.Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, 47.382, https://www.mfa.org/collections/object/fragment-of-a-hanging-49372. The Dumbarton Oaks textile’s iconography is also uncertain: the ambiguity of the figure at center, particularly the peculiar gesture of the figure’s raised arms, raises the possibility that this image represents the degradation of some other figural form.One possibility is that the figure represents either the Triumph of Dionysos or the Ascension of Alexander, iconographies known in textiles and other media. See O. Lechitskaya, “Tabula with the Ascension of Alexander-Dionysus in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts,” in Drawing the Threads Together: Textiles and Footwear of the 1st Millennium AD from Egypt; Proceedings of the 7th Conference of the Research Group “Textiles from the Nile Valley,” Antwerp, 7–9 October 2011, ed. A. De Moor, C. Fluck, and P. Linscheid (Tielt, 2013), 176–93, especially fig. 24. Centers of such medallions also contain half-length busts, birds, vegetal patterns, and even vases sprouting vines; single, full-profile standing human figures are fairly uncommon.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.14
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 35.0 cm × W. (weft) 22.5 cm (13 3/4 × 8 7/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool on plain-weave ground in wool

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.1953.2.14
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 35.0 cm × W. (weft) 22.5 cm (13 3/4 × 8 7/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool on plain-weave ground in wool

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. 148.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.14
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 35.0 cm × W. (weft) 22.5 cm (13 3/4 × 8 7/8 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool on plain-weave ground in wool

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.