Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragment of a Hanging

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.56
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 15.0 cm × W. (weft) 21.8 cm (5 7/8 × 8 9/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen on plain-weave ground 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.

Detailed dimensions

Height: 15 cm (warp direction) 

Width: 21.8 cm (weft direction)

Leaf: 9.4 × 11.7 cm 

 

Materials

Composition: Tapestry weave 

Warp: Linen, single spun S-direction (S), paired, 6/cm; undyed 

Weft: Wool, single spun S-direction (S), 18–28/cm; yellow, pinkish beige, orange, red, blue, green. Linen, single spun S-direction (S), 18–20/cm; undyed. 

 

Ground: Plain weave 

Warp: Linen, single spun S-direction (S), 11–14/cm; undyed. 

Weft: Linen, single spun S-direction (S), 9–10/cm; undyed. Linen, single spun S-direction (S), 6–7/cm; blue.

 

Technique

Tapestry weave on plain weave ground in linen

 

Discussion

The composition of this small fragment, the loose plain weave structure, and the use of unevenly dyed blue linen weft suggests that it belongs to a distinctive group of weavings. These fabrics are characterized by stripes or checkerboard patterns, which were created by incorporating dyed linen warp and weft into the undyed plain-weave structure. Self-bands and bleached (?) linen wefts could further emphasize the geometry of their patterns. Scattered motifs such as stylized buds, blossoms, leaves, and birds were sometimes incorporated into the plain-weave ground with colored wool weft in tapestry weave. No technical details identify the original orientation of this weaving (see also BZ.1953.2.58, BZ.1953.2.59, BZ.1953.2.75, and BZ.1953.2.94). Here it is shown in the direction that it was woven with the warps running vertically to the composition. Bud-shaped designs are found on textiles oriented in any direction.

 

Condition

The fragment was cut from a larger textile. There is warp and weft loss throughout, and the edges are fragile. The color preservation of the wool weft is good. 

 

Conservation history

Stitched to a support fabric (2003)

 

—Kathrin Colburn, May 2019

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.56
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 15.0 cm × W. (weft) 21.8 cm (5 7/8 × 8 9/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen on plain-weave ground 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 fragment is dominated by a striking bud, its form outlined in red. At the bud’s apex, a pink trident shape against a red ground creates the illusion of tightly wrapped petals. Two dark petals emphasize the bud’s fullness. Regularly spaced self-bands create a striped pattern on the linen ground. Smaller petal shapes in blue, red, and pink inserted along the self-bands further enliven the ground fabric.        

The fragment is presumably from a large furnishing textile, perhaps a curtain or cover, with a repeating pattern. The bold contrasting colors and symmetrical design of the larger bud would have been very effective when viewed from a distance or in low lighting. A number of comparatives on more complete surviving fabrics survive in museum collections.Angers, Musée Pincé, MTC 8500-3 (M. Tap. 394): B. Affholder-Gérard and M.-J. Cornic, Angers, Musée Pincé: Collections égyptiennes (Paris, 1990), 173–74, no. 270; Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, 15.418, https://www.mfa.org/collections/object/tapestry-70289; New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 89.18.334, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/443547; 90.5.809, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/444288; Landesmuseum Württemberg, GT 4478; C. Nauerth, Die koptischen Textilien im Landesmuseum Württemberg (Stuttgart, 2014), 70–71, no. 29.

—Helen C. Evans and Brandie Ratliff, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.56
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 15.0 cm × W. (weft) 21.8 cm (5 7/8 × 8 9/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen on plain-weave ground 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. 35.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.56
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 15.0 cm × W. (weft) 21.8 cm (5 7/8 × 8 9/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen on plain-weave ground 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.