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Hanging with Columns and Blossoms

Object Name:
Hanging
Date:
5th–6th century
Geography:
Egypt, Damietta
Culture:
Coptic
Medium:
Linen, wool
Dimensions:
H. 90 1/2 in. (229.9 cm) W. 61 1/2 in. (156.2 cm)
Classification:
Textiles
Credit Line:
Gift of Arthur S. Vernay Inc., 1922
Accession Number:
22.124.3
  • Description

    This panel is one of a set of four nearly identical hangings found together at Sheikh Shata. They would have likely been used in doorways or between the columns of an arcade. The vibrant colors and the use of braids and interlace as architectural elements are typical of the playfulness of late antique style. The two columns separated by small lotus branches may evoke paradise, which during the early Byzantine period was often described as an enclosed garden filled with fruit-laden trees and intoxicating scents. Images suggesting earthly paradise are found on other large-scale textiles and are frequently seen in floor mosaics of the period. Also found on many large hangings are heads floating above the columns, with their heavily stylized features and large, almond-shaped eyes that are typical of portraits of the period.

  • Provenance

    Arthur S. Vernay, Inc., New York (until 1922; gifted to MMA)

  • See also
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
447587

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