Exhibitions/ Art Object

Fragment of a Wall Hanging with Figures in Elaborate Dress

4th–6th century
Made in Egypt
Tapestry weave in polychrome wool
16 3/4 x 25 in. (42.5 x 63.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Byzantine Collection, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington D.C. (BZ.1970.43)
Not on view
The two figures framed by a jeweled arcade are dressed in styles popular from Syria to Libya from the seventh to the ninth century. The figure at left wears a Sasanian-inspired dress, and the one at right wears a belted woven-to-shape tunic and a mantle. The personifications and their gifts represent the abundance of the earth and were meant to bring prosperity to the textile’s owner. Similar images are found throughout the Mediterranean world and were especially popular on textiles and floor mosaics.