Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragment of a Hanging with Flower Buds and Border

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.94
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th c. or later
Measurements

H. (warp) 59.0 cm × W. (weft) 45.0 cm (23 1/4 × 17 11/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen on plain-weave ground in 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: 59.0 cm (warp direction)  

Width: 45.0 cm (weft direction)

 

Materials

Composition: Tapestry weave 

Warp: Linen, single spun S-direction (S), single, paired, and on occasion tripled without particular sequence, 7–10/cm; undyed 

Weft: Wool, single spun S-direction (S), 22–40/cm; red, pink, green, blue. Linen, single spun S- direction (S), 20–24/cm; undyed. 

 

Ground: Plain weave 

Warp: Linen, single spun S-direction (S), 13–15/cm in ground weave, and 28/cm along selvage; undyed 

Weft: Linen, single spun S direction (S), 10–12/cm in ground weave, and 11/cm along selvage. Self-bands (four) with 2 or 3 weft entries; linen, single spun S-direction; undyed 

 

Technique

Tapestry weave on plain weave ground

 

Discussion

The composition of this textile was woven in tapestry weave in colored wool weft and undyed linen on a plain weave ground in undyed linen. Two rows of green and blue garlands and one in red and pink frame a diamond-shaped grid of small red and blue heart-shaped petals. Colorful buds are set in the centers of each diamond. The wool weft of the petals has for the most part deteriorated, and the diamond-shaped pattern is now difficult to decipher. This weaving could be viewed from either direction; neither the layout of the composition nor technical details identify its original orientation (see also BZ.1953.2.56, BZ.1953.2.58, BZ.1953.2.59, and BZ.1953.2.75). Both the buds and the heart-shaped elements—which have been described as a stylized petals—are depicted on textiles in both horizontal and vertical orientation. Here the textile is shown with the warps oriented vertically to the composition. Along the left side, a selvage is preserved.

 

Condition

This fragment has suffered from warp and weft loss throughout. There are holes and discolorations in the ground weave. The edges are fragile. The color preservation of the wool weft is good and the linen ground appears well preserved.

 

Conservation history

Stitched to a support fabric, matted (2003)

 

—Kathrin Colburn, May 2019

 
Accession numberBZ.1953.2.94
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th c. or later
Measurements

H. (warp) 59.0 cm × W. (weft) 45.0 cm (23 1/4 × 17 11/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen on plain-weave ground in 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.

On this fragment a series of interlocked wedge shapes form two garlands in dark blues and greens and one in red and pinks. The leaves and buds in similar colors are arranged between the garlands in three offset registers. The small triangles or chevrons probably formed a diaper pattern with the buds and leaves in the central register marking the center of each diamond.

Many furnishing textiles feature similar combinations of garlands or decorated bands with patterns formed by buds, leaves, or other motifs, such as birds, against the linen ground.Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, 07.461, https://www.mfa.org/collections/object/fragment-of-a-tapestry-band-68988); Lyon, Musée des Tissus, 24 400/411, inv. 88.I.236, and 28 929/44, inv. 908.I.28: Y. Bourgon-Amir, Les tapisseries coptes du Musée historique des tissus, Lyon (Montpellier, 1993), 1:281–82, 2: plate 286; Paris, Musée du Louvre, X4611: P. du Bourguet, Musée national du Louvre: Catalogue des étoffes coptes (Paris, 1964), 215, no. E74; Toronto, Royal Ontario Museum, 910.125.36, https://collections.rom.on.ca/objects/393465/fragment-of-a-wall-hanging-or-curtain. Though large hangings with more elaborate iconography, such as a hanging with Nikes in New York, make compelling comparisons, examples of covers and other domestic textiles with multiple bands and repeating registers of floral and animal motifs make stronger parallels.New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art,12.182.45, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/446223; A. Stauffer, Textiles of Late Antiquity (New York, 1995), 23 and 47, no. 46. For examples of furnishing textiles with decorated bands and repeating registers, see Vienna, Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, T 11981-1999: P. Noever, ed., Verletzliche Beute: Spätantike und frühislamische Textilien aus Ägypten = Fragile Remnants: Egyptian Textiles of Late Antiquity and Early Islam (Vienna, 2005), 159–60, no. 95; Paris, Musée du Louvre, X4793: P. du Bourguet, Musée national du Louvre: Catalogue des étoffes coptes (Paris, 1964), 216, no. E75.

—Helen C. Evans and Brandie Ratliff, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.94
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th c. or later
Measurements

H. (warp) 59.0 cm × W. (weft) 45.0 cm (23 1/4 × 17 11/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen on plain-weave ground in 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. 34.

J. Ball, “Textiles: The Emergence of a Christian Identity in Cloth,” in The Routledge Handbook of Early Christian Art, ed. R. M. Jensen and M. D. Ellison (London, 2018), 226, fig. 14.4.

Accession numberBZ.1953.2.94
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th c. or later
Measurements

H. (warp) 59.0 cm × W. (weft) 45.0 cm (23 1/4 × 17 11/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen on plain-weave ground in 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.