Cotton, ink, and gold; plain weave, resist dyed (ikat), painted; inscription: black ink and gold leaf, painted; L. 23 in. (58.4 cm), W. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
Gift of George D. Pratt, 1929 (29.179.9)
The striped textiles of Yemen were famous in medieval times throughout the Islamic world. They were made in the ikat technique, in which the cotton warp threads were bundled together and resist-dyed before being arranged on the loom to form patterns of arrowheads and diamonds. The presence of fringe suggests that this fragment was part of a shawl. Inscriptions on Yemeni ikats are usually either embroidered or, as here, painted. These and other textiles bearing inscriptions were called tiraz, from the Persian word meaning "embroidery." They were produced in tiraz factories, some of which were commercial and others royal.