Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragment

 
Accession numberBZ.1973.7
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 26.4 cm × W. (warp) 37.8 cm (10 3/8 × 14 7/8 in.)

Technique and Material

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

Acquisition history

Tano Collection, London, England, to 1973; Acquired by Dumbarton Oaks, February 1973; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

This fragmentary clavus is woven in tapestry weave in beige and dark purple. It comprises a series of interconnected medallions and squares occupied by human and animal figures. The circular medallions contain seminude riders with a shield in one hand and a stone in the other, while the squares contain dancers and seminude figures. All of the figures are surrounded by leaves and bunches of grapes. The fragment presents the same motifs as BZ.1973.2, but the orientation of the riders is reversed. This weaving was probably once part of the same textile as BZ.1973.1 and BZ.1973.2.

Mythological figures are often depicted in both dress and furnishing textiles from late antiquity. Their festive iconography—dancing and music-playing men and women, frolicking putti, fanciful animals—is immediately recognizable (see especially BZ.1933.44, BZ.1948.7, BZ.1953.2.68, BZ.1953.2.84, BZ.1953.2.95, BZ.1973.1, BZ.1973.2). Here, a depiction of Europa and the bull is skillfully rendered, with great sense of movement. The popularity of such iconography on textiles may be due to the aspirations of wearers and owners, who wished to adorn themselves and their homes with imagery associated with festivity and health.Discussed by T. K. Thomas, “Material Meaning in Late Antiquity,” in Designing Identity: The Power of Textiles in Late Antiquity, ed. T. K. Thomas (Princeton, NJ, 2016), 46–48.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1973.7
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 26.4 cm × W. (warp) 37.8 cm (10 3/8 × 14 7/8 in.)

Technique and Material

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

Acquisition history

Tano Collection, London, England, to 1973; Acquired by Dumbarton Oaks, February 1973; 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.

Accession numberBZ.1973.7
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 26.4 cm × W. (warp) 37.8 cm (10 3/8 × 14 7/8 in.)

Technique and Material

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

Acquisition history

Tano Collection, London, England, to 1973; Acquired by Dumbarton Oaks, February 1973; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

D. Thompson, “Catalogue of Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection” (unpublished catalogue, Washington, DC, 1976), no. 39c.

D. Thompson, “Further Observations on the Classification of Coptic Textiles III: Some Early Garment Ornaments and Curtain Fragments in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection,” BullCIETA 69 (1991): fig. 7a.

T. K. Thomas, ed., Designing Identity: The Power of Textiles in Late Antiquity (Princeton, NJ, 2016), 36, 145, no. 12, fig. 1-1.19.

Accession numberBZ.1973.7
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 26.4 cm × W. (warp) 37.8 cm (10 3/8 × 14 7/8 in.)

Technique and Material

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

Acquisition history

Tano Collection, London, England, to 1973; Acquired by Dumbarton Oaks, February 1973; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

Related Content

Accession numberBZ.1973.7
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–6th c.
Measurements

H. (weft) 26.4 cm × W. (warp) 37.8 cm (10 3/8 × 14 7/8 in.)

Technique and Material

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

Acquisition history

Tano Collection, London, England, to 1973; Acquired by Dumbarton Oaks, February 1973; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.