Silk and gold–wrapped silk; a compound weave; 17 x 12 in. (43.2 x 30.5 cm)
Purchase, 1958 (58.85.1)
This textile fragment displays a pattern of roundels bearing addorsed griffins with gazelles below their forelegs, within a border of pairs of fantastic animals. The interstitial motif consists of an eight-pointed star enclosing a rosette, and surrounded by pairs of confronted quadrupeds. The pattern, popular in both Muslim and Byzantine worlds, recalls earlier silks of the eastern Mediterranean and, ultimately, of Central Asia. Silks of this type have been found in reliquaries of churches in Spain; they may be the "patterns with circles" of Almería referred to in historical documents.