Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Square (Segmentum)

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.66
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 27.4 cm × W. (weft) 22.8 cm (10 13/16 × 9 in.)

Technique and Material

Plain-weave ground in undyed linen with embroidery 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 rectangular fragment features an embroidered design in beige, red, yellow, purple, and dark purple on a beige plain-weave ground. The design consists of a central medallion inscribed with a yellow cross at center, surrounded by geometric patterns in purple. The frame around this medallion is composed of connected circles with eight-pointed star motifs; the left corner features embroidery details in a darker purple than the rest of the design. The outer border consists of red dots along the edges and yellow arrows at corners.

Though it is difficult to determine the original function of this embroidery, its design layout and coloration emulates squares from tunics and furnishing textiles. The inclusion of specifically Christian iconography, however, is unusual, since crosses or other signs of religious identity are rarely made explicit in textiles of this time. A small square from a furnishing fabric with an ankh cross (BZ.2010.070) thus presents an interesting parallel to this piece, albeit in a different technique.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.66
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 27.4 cm × W. (weft) 22.8 cm (10 13/16 × 9 in.)

Technique and Material

Plain-weave ground in undyed linen with embroidery 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.

New York, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, Designing Identity: The Power of Textiles in Late Antiquity, February 25–May 22, 2016.

Washington, DC, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Ornament: Fragments of Byzantine Fashion, September 10, 2019—January 5, 2020.


Accession numberBZ.1953.2.66
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 27.4 cm × W. (weft) 22.8 cm (10 13/16 × 9 in.)

Technique and Material

Plain-weave ground in undyed linen with embroidery 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. 155.

G. Bühl and E. Williams, “Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection: Past Studies and Future Directions,” in Textiles, Tools and Techniques of the 1st Millennium AD from Egypt and Neighbouring Countries: Proceedings of the 8th Conference of the Research Group “Textiles from the Nile Valley,” Antwerp, 4–6 October 2013, ed. A. De Moor, C. Fluck, and P. Linscheid (Tielt, 2015), 64.

T. K. Thomas, ed., Designing Identity: The Power of Textiles in Late Antiquity (Princeton, NJ, 2016), 60, 146, no. 30, fig. 1-2.7.

J. Ball, “Textiles: The Emergence of a Christian Identity in Cloth,” in The Routledge Handbook of Early Christian Art, ed. R. M. Jensen and M. D. Ellison (London, 2018), 234, fig. 14.10.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.66
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 7th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 27.4 cm × W. (weft) 22.8 cm (10 13/16 × 9 in.)

Technique and Material

Plain-weave ground in undyed linen with embroidery 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.