Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Tunic Clavus

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.15
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 6.6 cm × W. (weft) 84.5 cm (2 5/8 × 33 1/4 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 clavus is rendered in tapestry weave in beige, pink, red, crimson, orange, yellow, dark green, blue, dark blue, and purple. Remnants of the surrounding ground from which the piece has been cut are visible at the two ends of the clavus near the terminal medallions. The central field of the clavus consists of panels featuring spindly plant motifs and human and animal figures in alternation. The clavus is framed with a border composed of a series of S-shaped blocks in many colors.

The piece preserves both of its medallions, and therefore represents the entire length of a clavus, which would have gone over the shoulder to decorate the front and back of a tunic. The design is notable for its highly abstracted, though crudely rendered human figures and floral motifs. A complete tunic in New York features clavi with the same iconography as the Dumbarton Oaks example, though the imagery on that piece is woven in a clearer, more accomplished style with much more detail and more chromatic variety.New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 12.185.2, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/446258.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.15
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 6.6 cm × W. (weft) 84.5 cm (2 5/8 × 33 1/4 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.

D. Thompson, “Catalogue of Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection” (unpublished catalogue, Washington, DC, 1976), no. 136.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.15
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 6.6 cm × W. (weft) 84.5 cm (2 5/8 × 33 1/4 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.