Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragment of a Tunic Clavus

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.26
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 30.4 cm × W. (warp) 11.6 cm (11 15/16 × 4 9/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome 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 narrow band consists of a design rendered in tapestry weave in beige and blue-purple. The center of the design is dominated by a riding horseman, with pairs of quadruped animals stacked above and below. A round vine-scroll pattern at the top and bottom of the fragment is filled with floral or animal motifs. The decorative area is framed by a striped edge with a palmette border.

The shape and design of this fragment indicate that it was once part of a tunic’s clavus. The design features highly stylized renditions of a hunter set amidst an inhabited vine scroll. A nearly complete example of a tunic with similarly abstracted design motifs on its clavi is preserved in Riggisberg, and is radiocarbon dated to the fifth to seventh century.Riggisberg, Abegg-Stiftung, inv. 31: S. Schrenk, Textilien des Mittelmeersraumes aus spätantiker bis frühislamischer Zeit (Riggisberg, 2004), 152–55, no. 51. A number of fragments in Paris share iconographic and stylistic similarities with the Dumbarton Oaks piece.Paris, Musée du Louvre, AF 6193, AF 6243, AF 6007, E 26485, E 26486, (among others); former accession numbers X4910, X4964, X4690, AC 519, AC 520: P. du Bourguet, Musée national du Louvre: Catalogue des étoffes coptes (Paris, 1964), 357–64, G 40, G 41, G 45, G 57, G 58. Another fragment at Dumbarton Oaks (BZ.1953.2.7) features a similar design aesthetic.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.26
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 30.4 cm × W. (warp) 11.6 cm (11 15/16 × 4 9/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome 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.1953.2.26
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 30.4 cm × W. (warp) 11.6 cm (11 15/16 × 4 9/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome 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. 141.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.26
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 30.4 cm × W. (warp) 11.6 cm (11 15/16 × 4 9/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome 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.