Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Textile Fragment with Facing Pairs of Birds Flanking a Tree of Life

Object Name:
11th–12th century
Attributed to Iran, probably Rayy
Silk; samite
Textile: H. 18 in. (45.7 cm) W. 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm) Mount: H. 25 in. (63.5 cm) W. 17 7/8 in. (45.4 cm) D. 1 in. (2.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1944
Accession Number:
Not on view
The motif of facing birds on either side of a tree has a long history in Iran and other parts of the Islamic world, but it also became popular throughout the Byzantine Empire and developed around the area of the Mediterranean Sea. Very often it is difficult to determine where textiles of this design were made.
[ J.K. Nazare-Aga, Paris, in 1931]; [ Dikran G. Kelekian, New York, by 1940–44; sold to MMA]
London. Burlington House. "International Exhibition of Persian Art," January 7, 1931–February 28, 1931, no. 62.

The Iranian Institute. "Exhibition of Persian Art," 1940, Gal. XV, no. 17.

Wilson, Arnold T. "7th January to 28th February, 1931." In Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art. 3rd. ed. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1931. no. 62, p. 47.

Harari, Ralph, and Richard Ettinghausen. A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present, edited by Arthur Upham Pope. Vol. I-VI. London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1938. v. III, p. 2005, ill. fig. 644a, vol. VI, pl. 992A.

Ackerman, Phyllis. "The Iranian Institute, New York." In Guide to the Exhibition of Persian Art. 2nd. ed. New York: The Iranian Institute, 1940. no. Gal. XV; no. 17, p. 477.

Otavsky, Karel, and Muhammad abbas Muhammad Salim. "Aegypten, Persien und Mesopotamien, Spanien und Nordafrika." In Mittelalterliche Textillien I. Die Textilsammlung der Abegg-Stiftung, Vol. I. Riggisberg: Abegg-Stiftung, 1995. no. 80, pp. 134-136, ill. p. 135 (color), Reference to pieces of the same textile in MFA Boston, Cleveland, Cluny, Textile Museum Washington, and 'ehemals' Kevorkian Collection. The MMA piece is not mentioned.

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