Roundel with Amazons
7th–9th century (?)
Made in Egypt or Syria (?)
Weft-faced compound twill ( samit ) in blue-violet and beige silk
Overall: 8 1/16 x 8 1/16 in. (20.5 x 20.5 cm)
Musée National du Moyen Âge, Thermes et Hôtel de Cluny, Paris (Cl. 21840)
Not on view
Nineteenth-century excavations at the cemetery at Panopolis (Akhmim), a city long associated with Dionysos, yielded silks elaborately woven with classical motifs. Recent radiocarbon dating of textiles associated with the site place them between the seventh and ninth centuries, providing a sense of the continuity of styles as the region transitioned from Byzantine to Islamic rule.
Riding Amazons with one breast exposed represent another antique motif popular in the Byzantine and Islamic periods. Textiles with this pattern are traditionally associated with Akhmim.