Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragment of a Hanging with Flower

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.59
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 6th c. or later
Measurements

H. (weft) 9.0 cm × W. (warp) 9.5 cm (3 9/16 × 3 3/4 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.

Detailed dimensions

Height: 9.0 cm (weft direction)

Width: 9.5 cm (warp direction)

 

Materials

Warp: Linen, single spun S-direction (S), paired, 5–6/cm; undyed

Weft: Wool, single spun S-direction (S), 12–32/cm; orange, black. Wool, paired, single spun S-direction (S), 8–10/cm; red. Linen, single spun S-direction (S), 28/cm; undyed.

 

Technique

Tapestry weave

 

Discussion

This small fragment of a rather coarse weaving of a blossom was part of a larger composition (see BZ.1953.2.56, BZ.1953.2.58, BZ.1953.2.75, and BZ.1953.2.94). It was probably one of many motifs that would have been woven with other elements into a field of plain-weave ground in undyed linen. The blossom was woven in tapestry weave in colored wool and undyed linen weft on an undyed paired linen warp. The red wool wefts were paired, resulting in a thicker weaving. Color junctures were achieved with slits, and non-horizontal wefts create contours. No technical details identify its original orientation; more complete weavings demonstrate that blossom motifs were placed in both horizontal and vertical orientations. Here the fragment is shown with the warps running horizontally to the composition.

 

Condition

The fragment has been cut from a larger textile. The yellow and black wool wefts are abraded. It is fragile along its edges. The color preservation of the wool weft is good.

 

Conservation history

Removed from backing, wet-cleaned, and remounted (1975); Stitched to a support fabric over a wooden frame (2003)

 

—Kathrin Colburn, May 2019

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.59
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 6th c. or later
Measurements

H. (weft) 9.0 cm × W. (warp) 9.5 cm (3 9/16 × 3 3/4 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.

In this example of a five-petal blossom, each petal is marked with a contrasting dot. Leaves support the weight of the blossom and would have grown from the now missing stem. Blossoms like the one on this fragment are commonly found on textiles identified as curtains.Haifa, Haifa Museum of Art, 6727; Krefeld, Deutsches Textilmuseum, 08408: A. Paetz gen Schieck, Aus Gräbern geborgen: koptische Textilien aus eigener Sammlung: eine Ausstellung des Deutschen Textilmuseums Krefeld, 25. Mai-14. September 2003 (Krefeld, 2003), 99, no. 205; Lyon, Musée des Tissus, 24 400/571: Y. Bourgon-Amir, Les tapisseries coptes du Musée historique des tissus, Lyon (Montpellier, 1993), 1:286, 2: plate 292; Toronto, Royal Ontario Museum 910.128.27, https://collections.rom.on.ca/objects/454600/fragment-of-a-childs-tunic. In this context, the blossoms frequently appear in multiples and are paired with baskets of fruit or flowers along with smaller bud, flower, or leaf motifs.See, for example, Lyon, Musée des Tissus, 24 400/571 (cited above); Moscow, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, 7168: R. Shurinova, Koptskie tkani: sobranie Gosudarstvennogo Muzej Izobrazitel'nych Iskusstv Imeni A. S. Pushkina Moskva = Coptic Textiles: Collection of Coptic Textiles, State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts Moscow (Leningrad, 1968), no. 160, plate 108. More elaborate examples of the motif depict blossoms resting on well-formed leaves or with small buds at the base.See, for example, Lyon, Musée des Tissus, 24 400/571; Krefeld, Deutsches Textilmuseum, 08408 (both cited above). The lobed form may be related to more explicitly articulated flowers or baskets of fruit or flowers.Two examples of lobed flowers are found in the Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst in Vienna: T 657-1883, in P. Noever, ed., Verletzliche Beute: Spätantike und frühislamische Textilien aus Ägypten = Fragile Remnants: Egyptian Textiles of Late Antiquity and Early Islam (Vienna, 2005), 136–37, no. 77; and T 262, https://sammlung.mak.at/en/collection_online?id=collect-107315. See also examples of trefoil-shaped blossoms growing from rinceaux: Geneva (at time of publication), Collection Bouvier, S 8: A. Stauffer, Textiles d’Egypte de la collection Bouvier: Antiquité tardive, période copte, premiers temps de l’Islam = Textilien aus Ägypten aus der Sammlung Bouvier: Spätantike, koptische und frühislamische Gewebe (Fribourg, 1991), 133, no. 49, plate V; and Worms, Museum der Stadt Worms im Andreasstift, T 534: D. Renner-Volbach, Die sogenannten koptischen Textilien im Museum Andreasstift der Stadt Worms: Bestandskatalog (Wiesbaden, 2002), 61–62, no. 34, plate II. Deborah Thompson suggested that the motif represents a collapsing of spade-shaped leaves and baskets of fruit: D. Thompson, “Catalogue of Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection” (unpublished catalogue, Washington, DC, 1976), no. 38. Compare, for example, Vienna, Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, T 7088-1909: Noever, Verletzliche Beute, 174–76, no. 107.

—Helen C. Evans and Brandie Ratliff, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.59
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 6th c. or later
Measurements

H. (weft) 9.0 cm × W. (warp) 9.5 cm (3 9/16 × 3 3/4 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. 38.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.59
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 6th c. or later
Measurements

H. (weft) 9.0 cm × W. (warp) 9.5 cm (3 9/16 × 3 3/4 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.