Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragment

 
Accession numberBZ.1969.61a
Attribution and Date
Egypt, ca. 14th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 27.0 cm × W. (weft) 27.5 cm (10 5/8 × 10 13/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Plain-weave ground in undyed linen with embroidery in polychrome silk

Acquisition history

Collection of Louisa Bellinger (1900–1968), Washington, DC; Gift of Professor and Mrs. Alfred Bellinger in memory of Louisa Bellinger, November 5, 1969 (as per correspondence files, Bellinger); Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

This irregularly shaped fragment features an embroidered design on plain-weave ground in beige, red, yellow, green, and light blue. A central band features lines of geometric patterns arranged into stripes, triangles, and diamonds, interspersed with abstracted floral or vegetal motifs. Rows of birds, facing in opposite directions, appear on either side of this band.

Mamlūk embroideries survive in significant numbers in museum collections, yet there has been little recent work on this vast corpus of material.A brief summary of recent work on the topic can be found in B. J. Walker, “Rethinking Mamluk Textiles,” Mamluk Studies Review 4 (2000): 167–217, especially 187–92. The survival of numerous “samplers” exhibiting various levels of skill further supports the argument that embroidered textiles were largely made in domestic settings, likely by women.For example, a sampler at the Walters Art Museum dating to the fourteenth or fifteenth century (86.603) shows a variety of designs arranged with little overall logic; the awkward stitching furthermore suggests the piece was executed by an inexperienced hand. The small size of this fabric makes it difficult to determine its original function. The dense embroidery and the careful control of the design suggest a skilled weaver.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1969.61a
Attribution and Date
Egypt, ca. 14th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 27.0 cm × W. (weft) 27.5 cm (10 5/8 × 10 13/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Plain-weave ground in undyed linen with embroidery in polychrome silk

Acquisition history

Collection of Louisa Bellinger (1900–1968), Washington, DC; Gift of Professor and Mrs. Alfred Bellinger in memory of Louisa Bellinger, November 5, 1969 (as per correspondence files, Bellinger); Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

D. Thompson, “Catalogue of Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection” (unpublished catalogue, Washington, DC, 1976), no. 184.

D. Thompson, “Cotton Double Cloths and Embroidered and Brocaded Linen Fabrics from Tenth to Fourteenth Century Egypt: Their Relation to Traditional Coptic and Contemporary Islamic Style,” BullCIETA 61/62 (1985): fig. 6.

Accession numberBZ.1969.61a
Attribution and Date
Egypt, ca. 14th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 27.0 cm × W. (weft) 27.5 cm (10 5/8 × 10 13/16 in.)

Technique and Material

Plain-weave ground in undyed linen with embroidery in polychrome silk

Acquisition history

Collection of Louisa Bellinger (1900–1968), Washington, DC; Gift of Professor and Mrs. Alfred Bellinger in memory of Louisa Bellinger, November 5, 1969 (as per correspondence files, Bellinger); Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.