Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragments

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.84
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 14.0 cm × W. (warp) 6.4 cm (5 1/2 × 2 1/2 in.)
H. (weft) 14.0 cm × W. (warp) 7.0 cm (5 1/2 × 2 3/4 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.

These two rectangular fragments depict seminude male figures in tapestry weave in beige and purple-brown. Their visages are rendered in profile and they hold shields and ball-shaped objects, possibly weaponry. The figures stand against a background filled with sinuous, narrow lines in tapestry weave evoking vine tendrils. Roundels above the figures enclose vegetal or animal motifs rendered in extensive hatching. The borders on the long sides of the fragment feature rows of semicircles resembling pearls.

The narrow shape of these bands makes it likely that they come from the clavus (or possibly clavi) of a tunic. Depictions of hunting figures are common in both dress and furnishing textiles from late antiquity; they carried auspicious connotations as well as associations with the popular god Dionysos (see BZ.1937.14). Here, seminude hunters with capes flying over their shoulders hold shields and prepare to throw their weapons at their prey. The popularity of hunting imagery on late antique textiles may be due to the aspirations of wearers and owners, who may have viewed such iconography as festive, healthful, and idealistic.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.84
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 14.0 cm × W. (warp) 6.4 cm (5 1/2 × 2 1/2 in.)
H. (weft) 14.0 cm × W. (warp) 7.0 cm (5 1/2 × 2 3/4 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. 9.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.84
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 14.0 cm × W. (warp) 6.4 cm (5 1/2 × 2 1/2 in.)
H. (weft) 14.0 cm × W. (warp) 7.0 cm (5 1/2 × 2 3/4 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.