Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Tunic Fragment

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.8
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 43 cm × W. (warp) 58.5 cm (16 15/16 × 23 1/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool

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 fragment features the remnants of a clavus, square (segmentum), and decorative square in tapestry weave in shades of beige, green-blue, yellow-tan, red-brown, and purple. The clavus features a scalloped border that frames a series of medallions filled with animals and floral motifs. The same patterns and organizational scheme repeat in the square. The lower right section of the clavus features a small, patched repair, possibly ancient, done in beige, green, and pink wool. Another repair is visible to the left of the medallion, next to the twisted green-blue cord along the left edge. Repairs are also visible on the bottom left edge beneath the braid.

Remains of a cord and a fringe make it possible to identify this fragment as the lower corner of a red tunic with a deep blue-green fringe and decorative details worked out in green and beige. Although faded today, the textile in its original state was undoubtedly a very vibrant red with jewel-toned details. A fragment from the same garment, BZ.1953.2.42, features more vibrantly preserved shades of beige, as well as a deep blue-green warp. Both fragments show a great deal of wear and feature repairs, suggesting the piece was well-worn in its lifetime. The iconography is difficult to read because of the extensive weft fading, but seems to depict alternating floral motifs with quadrupeds. Deborah Thompson noted that she saw an Arabic inscription on this fragment, though this observation seems unlikely.D. Thompson, “Catalogue of Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection” (unpublished catalogue, Washington, DC, 1976), no. 138b.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.8
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 43 cm × W. (warp) 58.5 cm (16 15/16 × 23 1/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool

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. 138b.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.8
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–10th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 43 cm × W. (warp) 58.5 cm (16 15/16 × 23 1/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool

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.