Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragment of a Hanging with Leaf or Flower Bud

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.75
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 6th c. or later
Measurements

H. (weft) 13.6 cm × W. (warp) 9.0 cm (5 3/8 × 3 9/16 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.

Detailed dimensions

Height: 13.6 cm (weft direction)

Width: 9.0 cm (warp direction)

 

Materials

Warp: Linen, single spun S-direction (S), paired, 7/cm; undyed

Weft: Wool, single spun S-direction (S), 26–40/cm; yellow, pinkish beige, red, blue, green. Linen, single spun S-direction (S), 26/cm; undyed.

 

Technique

Tapestry weave

 

Discussion

This small fragment, once part of a larger, rather coarse weaving, depicts an elaborate bud surrounded by bright green leaves (see BZ.1953.2.56, BZ.1953.2.58, BZ.1953.2.59, and BZ.1953.2.94). It was probably one of many that were woven with other elements into a field of plain-weave ground in undyed linen. It was woven in tapestry weave in colored wool weft on an undyed paired linen warp. Color junctures were achieved with slits, and non-horizontal wefts create contours. The wool weft used to weave the stem is spun of two differently colored blue fibers. 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 is cut from a larger textile. It is fragile along its edges, with scattered weft losses. The color preservation of wool weft is good.

 

Conservation history

Stitched to a support fabric (2003)

 

—Kathrin Colburn, May 2019

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.75
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 6th c. or later
Measurements

H. (weft) 13.6 cm × W. (warp) 9.0 cm (5 3/8 × 3 9/16 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 image is a stylized rendering of the leaves and buds common on late antique textiles. Examples like this one depend on dark outlines and blocks of color—here red, green, and yellow—rather than shading to express the form. In comparison with other examples of this motif (compare BZ.1953.2.56 and BZ.1953.2.58), it appears very flat. Here, the leaf begins to take on the form and the sometimes rigid symmetry of spade-shaped trees decorated with the tree of life motif or other images of fecundity (compare BZ.1953.2.57).

More complete textiles incorporating leaves, buds, and blossoms orient the motifs both horizontally and vertically. This flexibility in the presentation of common motifs may relate to a textile’s decorative scheme and use.See, for example, the hanging with Nikes holding bowl of fruit in New York, where the buds are oriented horizontally (New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 12.182.45, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/446223), and the hangings with polychrome columns in the same collection, where the blossoms are vertical (22.124.3 and 22.124.4, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/447587). In each case, the orientation of the motifs follows that of the hanging’s overall decorative scheme. Though singular spade-shaped trees and leaves like this example are found as tunic decoration, the scale of the leaf suggests that it was cut from a large textile, possibly a hanging or cover.For example, spade-shaped trees are placed on the shoulders and over the knees on a child’s tunic in Vienna: Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, T 205-1883; P. Noever, ed., Verletzliche Beute: Spätantike und frühislamische Textilien aus Ägypten = Fragile Remnants: Egyptian Textiles of Late Antiquity and Early Islam (Vienna, 2005), 77–78, no. 30. See also Colmar, Musée d’Histoire Naturelle et d’Ethnographie, 965.153.2.

—Helen C. Evans and Brandie Ratliff, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.75
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 6th c. or later
Measurements

H. (weft) 13.6 cm × W. (warp) 9.0 cm (5 3/8 × 3 9/16 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. 36.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.75
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 6th c. or later
Measurements

H. (weft) 13.6 cm × W. (warp) 9.0 cm (5 3/8 × 3 9/16 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.