Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Vine Lattice with Birds

Object Name:
6th–9th century
Egypt, possibly Akhmim (former Panopolis)
Coptic or Islamic
Silk; samit
Textile: L. 6 1/8 in. (15.5 cm) W. 6 3/8 in. (16.2 cm) Mat: L. 8 7/8 in. (22.5 cm) W. 12 1/16 in. (30.6 cm) D. 1/2 in. (1.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund, 1915
Accession Number:
Not on view
This two-toned silk fragment features circular and lobed medallions composed of pairs of birds. These medallions are framed within an overall lattice pattern composed of abstracted vines, scrolls, and leaves. Numerous examples of silks such as this have been found in the cemetery at Panopolis (Akhmim) in Egypt. Large sheets of the textile were cut and applied to unadorned tunics, allowing local elites to ornament their clothing with eye-catching patterns and colors.
[ Sangiorgi Galleria, Rome, until 1915; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition," March 14, 2012–July 8, 2012.

Evans, Helen C., and Brandie Ratliff, ed. Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. no. 99C, pp. 149-151, ill. pp. 150-1.

Thomas, Thelma K. Designing Identity: The Power of Textiles in Late Antiquity. New York, 2016. no. 38, pp. 880-81, 139-140, 147, ill., figs. 1-4.2, 2-5.16.

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