Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragment

 
Accession numberBZ.1973.35
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 6.9 cm × W. (weft) 26.1 cm (2 11/16 × 10 1/4 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen

Acquisition history

Collection of Royall Tyler (1884–1953), Paris; Gift of his son, William R. Tyler (1910–2003), Washington, DC, in 1972; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

This crescent-shaped fragment is rendered in tapestry weave in beige and dark blue. The pattern is dominated by spindly and abstracted floral motifs, baskets, and medallions. Remnants of fabric along the bottom edge of the crescent indicate that it was set in a larger beige ground.

Though damaged, the curved shape of the textile along its bottom edge suggests it was once part of the neckline or collar of a tunic. The closely woven structure and refined motifs suggest this piece came from a carefully woven garment. With its two-toned hues and stylized floral patterns, its decoration recalls late antique silks (see BZ.1953.2.6 for discussion).For a beige and blue example, see Riggisberg, Abegg-Stiftung, inv. 4146: S. Schrenk, Textilien des Mittelmeerraumes aus spätantiker bis frühislamischer Zeit (Riggisberg, 2004), 408–9, no. 197. Surviving examples, such as a partially surviving tunic neckline and clavus at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC, demonstrate that crescents of silk were cut to shape to adorn necklines.Washington, DC, The Textile Museum, 11.11: J. Trilling, The Roman Heritage: Textiles from Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean, 300 to 600 AD (Washington, DC, 1982), 100, no. 112. Such an emulative effort is perhaps best seen in a partially preserved neckline and shoulder decoration now in Riggisberg.Riggisberg, Abegg-Stiftung, inv. 150: Schrenk, Textilien des Mittelmeerraumes, 199–201, no. 67.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1973.35
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 6.9 cm × W. (weft) 26.1 cm (2 11/16 × 10 1/4 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen

Acquisition history

Collection of Royall Tyler (1884–1953), Paris; Gift of his son, William R. Tyler (1910–2003), Washington, DC, in 1972; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

New York, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, Designing Identity: The Power of Textiles in Late Antiquity, February 25–May 22, 2016.

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

Accession numberBZ.1973.35
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 6.9 cm × W. (weft) 26.1 cm (2 11/16 × 10 1/4 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen

Acquisition history

Collection of Royall Tyler (1884–1953), Paris; Gift of his son, William R. Tyler (1910–2003), Washington, DC, in 1972; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

H. Peirce and R. Tyler, L’art byzantin (Paris, 1932–34), 2:68, plate 23c.

D. Thompson, “Catalogue of Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection” (unpublished catalogue, Washington, DC, 1976), no. 56.

T. K. Thomas, ed., Designing Identity: The Power of Textiles in Late Antiquity (Princeton, NJ, 2016), 41, 146, no. 31, fig. 1-1.26.

Accession numberBZ.1973.35
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 4th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 6.9 cm × W. (weft) 26.1 cm (2 11/16 × 10 1/4 in.)

Technique and Material

Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen

Acquisition history

Collection of Royall Tyler (1884–1953), Paris; Gift of his son, William R. Tyler (1910–2003), Washington, DC, in 1972; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.