Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragment of a Band

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.63
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 12.6 cm × W. (weft) 64 cm (4 15/16 × 25 3/16 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 narrow rectangular band features a floral pattern in tapestry weave in beige, pink, red, light orange, orange, yellow, light green, green, blue-green, blue, and dark blue. It has been cut from a plain-weave ground, remnants of which are visible along one of the long edges. Large spade-shaped forms are placed next to each other in a single row, each containing a tiny leaf at its center, surrounded by geometric patterns. Small red and pink blossoms with green stems run alongside these larger spade-shaped designs. The outer borders of the fabric consist of half circles of various colors set in narrow bands. The paired warp is an unusual feature of this fabric.

The bright colors and playful patterning create a harmonious and visually compelling design. Although the weavers used a relatively limited range of color, the contrast of primary colors against the pale beige ground makes for an especially vivid visual effect. Its original function, however, is not clear: at first glance, the shape and proportions of the piece suggest it may have been used as a tunic decoration. However, paired warps are common on furnishings, where they created the stiffness needed for large-format hangings by reinforcing the underlying structure. For a textile of similar technique also featuring repeating floral patterns, see BZ.1953.2.64; for a similar aesthetic, see BZ.1953.2.69. A similar design rationale of spade-like leaves lined with blossoms is also seen in two bands in Paris.Paris, Musée du Louvre, AF 5487 and AF 5500, former accession numbers X4168 and X4181: P. du Bourguet, Musée national du Louvre: Catalogue des étoffes coptes (Paris, 1964), 318–19, F 193 and F 194.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.63
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 12.6 cm × W. (weft) 64 cm (4 15/16 × 25 3/16 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. 60.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.63
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 12.6 cm × W. (weft) 64 cm (4 15/16 × 25 3/16 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.