Fragment of a Wall Hanging with a Musician Playing the Oud
Made in Egypt
Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen
12 5/8 x 12 in. (32 x 30.5 cm)
Benaki Museum, Athens (8496)
Not on view
During both the Byzantine and the Islamic periods, female images signified abundance, fertility, intellectual pursuits, deities, and cities. Women also appear as court entertainers such as dancers, musicians, and courtesans. A female musician plays a lute (‘oud in Arabic). Her long eyebrows, big eyes, and line at the end of her nose became popular on later "Fatimid dolls." She represents the Islamic continuation of a tradition of female performers long popular in the Byzantine world.