Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragment of a Band

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.54
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 17.6 cm × W. (weft) 49.6 cm (6 15/16 × 19 1/2 in.)

Technique and Material

Plain-weave ground in polychrome wool with brocading in 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 rectangular fragment features a brocaded pattern on a plain-weave ground in beige, red, and green. The central field contains a lattice pattern composed of S-shaped lines with abstracted leaves at the ends. Diamonds are placed at the intersections of the lattices, and four-petal blossoms are placed in between the lines.

The size and shape of this fragment suggest it was a tunic decoration, likely a thick band near the hem of the garment. A complete surviving tunic in Manchester preserves a bright red brocaded band along its lower edge; the shocking contrast of the green ground, purple clavi, and red brocaded decoration in this example is striking.Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester, T.8539. The piece is radiocarbon-dated between 650–770 with 95.4% probability. See F. Pritchard, “14C Dating of a Group of Wool Tunics from Egypt Given by W. M. Flinders Petrie to The Whitworth Art Gallery in 1897,” in Methods of Dating Ancient Textiles of the 1st Millennium AD from Egypt and Neighbouring Countries: Proceedings of the 4th Meeting of the Study Group “Textiles from the Nile Valley,” Antwerp, 16–17 April 2005, ed. A. De Moor and C. Fluck (Tielt, 2007), 181, fig. 1. With its red ground and floral patterning arranged in lattices, the Dumbarton Oaks fragment likely emulates two-toned silks which often included similar features and were also sometimes applied as a tunic decoration along hemlines: an example of a two-toned silk still attached to its tunic in Antwerp gives a good sense of the kind of precious textiles this brocade may have emulated.Antwerp, Katoen Natie, 998-08. Radiocarbon-dating information taken from publicly available results published on “Textile Dates” database, Abteilung Christliche Archäologie, Universität Bonn, http://www.textile-dates.info/textile_list_start.php?textile_id=295. For a comparable example, see BZ.1953.2.55.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.54
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 17.6 cm × W. (weft) 49.6 cm (6 15/16 × 19 1/2 in.)

Technique and Material

Plain-weave ground in polychrome wool with brocading in 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. 57.

D. Thompson, “The Evolution of Two Traditional Coptic Tape Patterns: Further Observations on the Classification of Coptic Textiles,” JARCE 23 (1986): fig. 2.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.54
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 17.6 cm × W. (weft) 49.6 cm (6 15/16 × 19 1/2 in.)

Technique and Material

Plain-weave ground in polychrome wool with brocading in 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.