Sleeve Fragment with a Band Decorated with an Animal
Not on view
This simple band of linear design, part of a tunic sleeve, recalls the monochrome purple Late Antique style that was so popular in interlace designs.
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Compount microscope, 20x. Photography by Florica Zaharia
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Title:Sleeve Fragment with a Band Decorated with an Animal
Geography:Attributed to Egypt
Medium:Tapestry weave in red wool (dyed with madder) and undyed linen on plain-weave ground of undyed linen; details in flying shuttle in undyed linen; weft loop pile with undyed linen
Dimensions:Max. H. 12 in. (30.5 cm) Max. W. 12 3/8 in. (31.5 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of George F. Baker, 1890
Two Textiles Fragments Decorated with Animals: MMA 2002.239.14 and 90.5.829
Both textiles represent the widespread use of animal motifs during the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods in Egypt, either in isolation, as here, or combined with other animals, human figures, or vegetal ornamentation. MMA. 2002.239.14. is decorated with a band that was once part of a larger strip that formed part of a tunic. The band, in monochrome tapestry, has three rectangular compartments. The central one contains the profile of a black hare crouching on a bed of leaves against a dotted background. Flanking this section are two identical compartments with three rows of stylized leaves, typical decorative elements on Late Antique clothing. Characteristic ornamental motifs on the bands include animals, such as lions or gazelles, and human figures often associated with mythology. The hare or rabbit also occurs frequently; an example of the motif comparable to the one shown here, in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, appears on a band that also features Aphrodite. The Metropolitan Museum’s hare is depicted in a similar position, with the ear left blank.
The fragment of a sleeve, no. 90.5.829, is decorated with a red band featuring a linear composition made up of a central medallion flanked by two rectangular panels. In the medallion is a quadruped, while each side panel carries two rows of a composite, two-part motif: a heart-shaped and an open-ended side, each enclosing a stylized flower. The animal, which looks backward with one leg raised, is a familiar one in the Early Islamic period and comparable with motifs on woodwork.
Mina Moraitou in [Evans and Ratliff 2012]
2. See Frances Pritchard. Clothing Culture: Dress in Egypt in the First Millennium AD: Clothing from Egypt in the Collection of the Whitworth Art Gallery, the University of Manchester. Exh. cat. Manchester, 2006, pp. 60ff.
3. Au fil du Nil: Couleurs de l'Egypte chrétienne. Exh. cat. Paris, 2001, cat. no. 86.
4. For comparable material, see Peter Noever, ed. Verletsliche Beute: Spätantike und frühislamische Textilien aus Ägypten - Fragile Remnants: Egyptian Textiles of Late Antiquity and Early Islam. Exh. cat. Osfildern-Ruit, 2005, p. 114, cat. no. 58; and Pritchard 2006 (note 2), figs. 4–32, 4.33.
5. For examples see Elise Anglade. Catalogue des boiseries de la section islamique, Musée du Louvre. Paris, 1988, no. 32, 38.
Emil Brugsch-Bey(until 1890; sold to Baker); George F. Baker, New York (1890; gifted to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Textiles of Late Antiquity," December 14, 1995–April 7, 1996, no. 59.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition," March 14–July 8, 2012, no. 115B.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Secret Life of Textiles: Animal Fibers," August 15, 2016–February 20, 2017.
Stauffer, Annmarie. Textiles of Late Antiquity. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995. no. 59, p. 48.
Evans, Helen C., and Brandie Ratliff, ed. Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. No. 115B, pp. 172–73, ill. p. 173 (color).
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