Dumbarton Oaks Microsite

Fragment

 
Accession numberBZ.1974.6
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 17.0 cm × W. (weft) 39.0 cm (6 11/16 × 15 3/8 in.)

Technique and Material

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

Acquisition history

Collection of the Byzantine Institute, to 1974; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

Detailed dimensions

Height: 17.0 cm (warp direction)

Width: 39.0 cm (weft direction)

Height of band: 5.0–5.6 cm

 

Materials

Composition: Tapestry weave

Warp: Linen, single spun S-direction (S), paired and tripled, 8–12/cm; undyed

Weft: Wool, single spun S-direction (S), 32–36/cm; brown. Linen, single spun S-direction, single 20–24/cm, paired 16–22/cm; undyed.

 

Ground: Plain weave with self-bands

Warp: Linen, single spun S-direction (S), 18–22/cm, 38-44/cm along selvage; undyed

Weft: Linen, single spun S-direction (S), 12–13/cm; undyed

 

Technique

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

 

Discussion

This fragment is embellished with two narrow bands that were woven in tapestry weave in wool and undyed linen. The dark wool weft is composed of fibers dyed in various shades of blue and purple. Details of the leaves are created with supplementary weft in undyed linen. The plain-weave ground of this fragment is embellished with three unevenly spaced self-bands. The warp count along the selvage on the left edge was increased to strengthen it. Here the fragment is seen in the direction that it was woven, with the warps running vertically to the composition. Weavings with these types of ornamental bands have frequently been identified along the top and bottom edges of textiles woven in various techniques, including weft-loop pile.

 

Condition

Fragment of a larger textile, warp and weft loss throughout, holes in the plain-weave ground, fragile along edges, color preservation of wool weft good. Some staining throughout.

Conserved, cleaned, blocked, and mounted (1975); stitched to a support fabric (2003)

 

Conservation history

Cleaned and mounted (1975); stitched to a support fabric (2003)

 

—Kathrin Colburn, May 2019

 
Accession numberBZ.1974.6
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 17.0 cm × W. (weft) 39.0 cm (6 11/16 × 15 3/8 in.)

Technique and Material

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

Acquisition history

Collection of the Byzantine Institute, to 1974; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

This rectangular fragment features an elegantly rendered ivy branch or vine scroll emerging from a block of deep brown along the selvage at left. The tapestry-woven area is set in a plain-weave field. Although this fabric is fragmentary, the size of the individual leaves of its vine-scroll design suggests it was once part of a large motif from a furnishing textile. Vine, wave and other geometric designs appear as paired stripe border motifs in several large-format textiles. The enormous dimensions of these textiles indicate that they were furnishings. A large (312.4 × 222.3 cm) textile in Boston features double scrolls along its shorter edges, similarly rendered in dark purple thread against a linen background.Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, 94.120, http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/cover-71482. An example in weft-loop pile in London (289.56 cm × 190.5 cm), while more elaborate, shows a similar design concept, with central medallion patterns and paired border motifs with wave-like designs.London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 438-1889, http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O249067/cover-unknown.

Deborah Thompson argued that technical details of this fragment suggest it was once part of a large cloth, possibly a hanging.D. Thompson, “Catalogue of Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection” (unpublished catalogue, Washington, DC, 1976), no. 30bis. Scrolling vines like this one often appear as border designs, sometimes alongside areas in weft-loop pile.New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 89.18.69, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/443274; and 90.5.899, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/444372. In this sense, it is probably closest in function to a border fragment preserved in New York, although this piece is rendered in colorful wool and features heart-shaped patterns framing the central vine motif.New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 90.5.357, http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/443843.

—Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, May 2019

 

Notes

Accession numberBZ.1974.6
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 17.0 cm × W. (weft) 39.0 cm (6 11/16 × 15 3/8 in.)

Technique and Material

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

Acquisition history

Collection of the Byzantine Institute, to 1974; 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.1974.6
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 17.0 cm × W. (weft) 39.0 cm (6 11/16 × 15 3/8 in.)

Technique and Material

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

Acquisition history

Collection of the Byzantine Institute, to 1974; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

D. Thompson, “Catalogue of Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection” (unpublished catalogue, Washington, DC, 1976), no. 30bis.

D. Thompson, “Further Observation on the Classification of Coptic Textiles, III. Some Early Garment Ornaments and Curtain Fragments in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection,” BullCIETA 69 (1991): 24–33; fig. 5.

Accession numberBZ.1974.6
Attribution and Date
Egypt, 5th–7th c.
Measurements

H. (warp) 17.0 cm × W. (weft) 39.0 cm (6 11/16 × 15 3/8 in.)

Technique and Material

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

Acquisition history

Collection of the Byzantine Institute, to 1974; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.