Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Square (Segmentum)

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.85
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 18.5 cm × W. (weft) 18.2 cm (7 5/16 × 7 3/16 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 square fragment is woven in tapestry weave in brown-purple and beige. Some details are rendered in supplementary weft decoration. At center, a human bust is depicted in three-quarter profile, with eyes facing toward the figure’s left; the face is set in a circle decorated with hatching. Rows of circles with stepped geometric patterns surround this central field; the circles at the corners contain abstract floral patterns. The outer border comprises rows of squares. Remnants of the plain-weave ground once surrounding this square are visible in small patches along the bottom.

The small size of the square suggests that the fragment was once part of a garment, possibly a shoulder decoration or placed near the knee. Although the design presents a rather coarse and unsophisticated style, there is an interesting range of techniques used here to create color fields and decorative details.A particularly strong parallel, formerly in the Rose Choron collection, features a geometric border and a central bust in three-quarter profile. New York, Queens College, 2016.13.65: “Black Square with Portrait Bust and Border of Quartered Circles,” in E. D. Maguire, Weavings from Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic Egypt: The Rich Life and the Dance (Champaign, IL, 1999), 162, no. C21. A nearly complete tunic with squares featuring busts in three-quarter view and similar border motifs is held in Paris.Paris, Musée du Louvre, X4307: P. du Bourguet, Musée national du Louvre: Catalogue des étoffes coptes (Paris, 1964), 96, C 32. Another fragment from a sleeveband, also in Paris, features similar techniques of hatching and busts in three-quarter view with both eyes visible.Paris, Musée du Louvre, AC 164: ibid., 154, D 94. Another square fragment in the Dumbarton Oaks collections (BZ.1953.2.83) almost certainly comes from the same textile as BZ.1953.2.85. A fragmentary sleeveband at Dumbarton Oaks (BZ.1953.2.96) may also be related.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.85
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 18.5 cm × W. (weft) 18.2 cm (7 5/16 × 7 3/16 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.

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

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.85
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 18.5 cm × W. (weft) 18.2 cm (7 5/16 × 7 3/16 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. 16a.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.85
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 18.5 cm × W. (weft) 18.2 cm (7 5/16 × 7 3/16 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.

Related Content

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.85
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 18.5 cm × W. (weft) 18.2 cm (7 5/16 × 7 3/16 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.