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True Colors: The Damascus Room

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Fragment

Date:
dated A.H. 328/A.D. 939–40
Geography:
Egypt, Damietta
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Linen, silk; plain weave, embroidered
Dimensions:
Textile: H. 16 1/2 in. (41.9 cm) W. 29 1/2 in. (74.9 cm) Mount: H. 21 in. (53.3 cm) W. 33 5/8 in. (85.4 cm) D. 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm)
Classification:
Textiles-Embroidered
Credit Line:
Gift of George D. Pratt, 1929
Accession Number:
29.179.13
  • Description

    Inscribed textiles are called tiraz, from the Persian word for embroidery. Many were produced in royal workshops and presented by rulers to honor courtiers and officials at formal ceremonies. They bear inscriptions naming and blessing the current ruler or caliph—a reminder to the recipient that they wed their allegiance to that ruler. This irregularly shaped textile is made of undyed linen and has an Arabic inscription in kufic script embroidered in black silk across the upper section. The inscription also contains the name of the caliph al-Radi billah and his vizier Fadl ibn Ja'far, as well as the date A.H. 328 (A.D. 939–40) and the place of manufacture, Dimyat (Damietta, in Egypt).

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: The Arabic inscription in Kufic reads "In the name of God [...] al-Muqtadir billah Commander of the Faithful, may God glorify him. Of what the vizier ordered [in] the private tiraz, year 312/924–925. Kiswa (i.e., garment)."

    The inscription also contains the names of the caliph al-Radi billah and his vizier Fadl ibn Ja'far as well as the date A.H. 328 (A.D. 939–40) and the place of manufacture, Dimyat (Damietta, in Egypt).

    Marking: See link panel.

  • Provenance

    George D. Pratt, New York (until 1929; gifted to MMA)

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
448298

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