Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragments of a Hanging or Cover with Boar and Grapes

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.79
Attribution and Date
Egypt, ca. 6th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 19.8 cm × W. (weft) 32.7 cm (7 13/16 × 12 7/8 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: 19.8 cm (warp direction)

Width: 32.7 cm (weft direction)

Height of border along bottom: 4.8 cm

 

Materials

Warp: Linen, single spun S-direction (S), alternating paired and tripled, 6–7/cm; undyed

Weft: Wool, single spun S-direction (S), 28–50/cm; red, orange, blue, purple, green, beige, gray. Linen, single spun S-direction (S), 32–40/cm; undyed

 

Technique

Tapestry weave

 

Discussion

This textile is a pastiche of carefully placed fragments that are woven in tapestry weave with colored wool weft on a linen warp. While at first impression the imagery appears coherent, closer examination reveals a lack of continuity in the design. The small pieces’ technical qualities suggest they may have once belonged to a single weaving that was later reassembled to the current arrangement. Discrepancies are especially noticeable in the weaving of the boar: the head as well as the hind quarters consist of several fragments separated by a gap, with each area in a different color scheme. The largest section of the arrangement depicts a vine, bird, and cluster of grapes and is entirely detached from the remainder of the weaving. The fragment with the face of the boar is continuous to the heart-shaped border along its side and bottom edge. Color junctures are created with small slits and dovetailing. Noteworthy is the use of hatching in the head and hindquarters of the boar and the bird to the left of the grapes; the wool weft in these areas consists of blue and olive green fibers spun together.

 

Condition

The many small fragments of this pastiche are brittle; there are holes, losses in the warp and weft, cut edges, soiling, and discoloration throughout. The color preservation is good.

 

Conservation history

Backing added (1989); cleaned and stitched to a fabric-covered stretcher frame (1974)

 

—Kathrin Colburn, May 2019

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.79
Attribution and Date
Egypt, ca. 6th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 19.8 cm × W. (weft) 32.7 cm (7 13/16 × 12 7/8 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.

The irregular fragments of this fabric have been arranged to suggest a figured ground and frame. The composition is dominated by a depiction of a boar-like animal on the left, which appears as if running out from a highly naturalistic rendering of a grapevine with fruit at right. The border itself is composed of connected red, pink, and white hearts on a light beige ground, interspersed with pairs of dots. The row of hearts is interrupted at bottom by a cross-shaped motif composed of four greenish-beige hearts. Because the piece is composed of numerous smaller, disconnected fragments, it is unlikely that these iconographic elements were arranged in this fashion in the original composition, and it is even possible that the pieces come from several different textiles. The boar, notably, seems composed of two different animals that have been joined at the torso.

The collage-like nature of this textile makes it difficult to decipher the precise iconographic meaning of the work. However, the shape of the fragments and the overall proportions of their motifs suggest they were once part of a hanging or hangings. Hunting scenes with boars appear in several surviving furnishing textiles, including a representation in the lower register of a larger, finely woven example in the Dumbarton Oaks collections (BZ.1937.14), where a figure aims an arrow at a rampant boar. Another textile fragment, now in Riggisberg, features a rampant boar rendered in shades of blue, which likely came from a hanging as well, given its size.Riggisberg, Abegg-Stiftung: S. Schrenk, Textilien des Mittelmeerraumes aus spätantiker bis frühislamischer Zeit (Riggisberg, 2004), 399–400, no. 189. The Dumbarton Oaks fragment is smaller than these two and differs from them in that it appears to have been part of a framing edge rather than a central scene, as one can see in the heart-shaped framing pattern that closely hews in around the boar. A well-rendered vine scroll at the right side of this textile—with the charming detail of a small bird amid its leaves—may once have been part of the border of a larger hanging

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.79
Attribution and Date
Egypt, ca. 6th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 19.8 cm × W. (weft) 32.7 cm (7 13/16 × 12 7/8 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. 41.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.79
Attribution and Date
Egypt, ca. 6th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 19.8 cm × W. (weft) 32.7 cm (7 13/16 × 12 7/8 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.