Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Tunic Sleeveband

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.40
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 17.0 cm × W. (weft) 19.2 cm (6 11/16 × 7 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 rectangular fragment is rendered in tapestry weave in beige, crimson, and dark green. Two mirrored panels feature bands of reversed triangles framing a field of stylized fish and floral patterns. Some details are rendered in supplementary weft decoration in beige. The weaving is of a relatively coarse quality, with blurry designs and an unevenly structured tapestry weave.

The shape and the organization of patterning suggest that this fragment comes from the sleeveband of a tunic. With its design of fish and fauna, its iconography draws from the standard Nilotic repertory popular in late antique textiles, meant to evoke bounty and wealth.See discussion in J. L. Ball, “Rich Interiors: The Remnants of a Hanging from Late Antique Egypt in the Collection of Dumbarton Oaks.” Though there are many examples of similarly styled clavi and sleevebands held in collections, a fragment in Riggisberg is an especially useful comparative because it has been radiocarbon dated to the fourth through sixth centuries.Riggisberg, Abegg-Stiftung, inv. 804: S. Schrenk, Textilien aus spätantiker bis frühislamischer Zeit (Riggisberg, 2004), 257–58, no. 102. Radiocarbon-dating information taken from publicly available results published on “Textile Dates” database, Abteilung Christliche Archäologie, Universität Bonn, http://ww.textile-dates.info/textile_list_start.php?textile_id=36. Another fragment at Dumbarton Oaks (BZ.1949.10) shares a similar aesthetic.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.40
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 17.0 cm × W. (weft) 19.2 cm (6 11/16 × 7 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.1953.2.40
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 17.0 cm × W. (weft) 19.2 cm (6 11/16 × 7 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. 121.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.40
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 17.0 cm × W. (weft) 19.2 cm (6 11/16 × 7 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.