Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Roundel (Orbiculus)

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.31
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 12.1 cm × W. (weft) 12.2 cm (4 3/4 × 4 13/16 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 squarish medallion is rendered in tapestry weave in beige and purple-brown. It has been cut from its tapestry-weave ground, remnants of which are visible along the edges. A group of four human figures huddle around a central object. The figures are seminude, and wear cloaks; they hold a basket, an animal, and a staff. The medallion is framed by a wave-crest pattern.

The small size of this medallion points to its original use as a tunic decoration. Nearly identical medallions, along with surviving sleevebands, are held in Riggisberg.Riggisberg, Abegg-Stiftung, inv. 587 a–d: S. Schrenk, Textilien des Mittelmeerraumes aus spätantiker bis frühislamischer Zeit (Riggisberg, 2004), 373–75, no. 177. Sabine Schrenk identifies the figures as erotes or genii, who are frequently depicted as seminude and holding offerings of platters or small animals (see, for example, the depictions in the borders of BZ.1943.8).Ibid., 375.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.31
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 12.1 cm × W. (weft) 12.2 cm (4 3/4 × 4 13/16 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.

D. Thompson, “Catalogue of Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection” (unpublished catalogue, Washington, DC, 1976), no. 137.

D. Thompson, “‘Miniaturization’ as a Design Principle in Late Coptic Textiles of the Islamic Period: Observations on the Classification of Coptic Textiles,” JARCE 22 (1985): fig. 10.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.31
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 12.1 cm × W. (weft) 12.2 cm (4 3/4 × 4 13/16 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.