Textile with a Pattern of Stars and Birds, Originally from a Cap

Not on view

This textile was part of a cap, whose paper lining (46.156.11b) shows words of an inscribed text. The style of this script appears to be connected with the Ayyubid, late Fatimid or early Mamluk periods, while the silk samite technique is attributed to Seljuq Iran. The weavers employed two warps and two or more wefts to create the silk textile called samite. Here, eight-pointed stars, diamond-shaped motifs with foliate endings, and confronted birds compose the textile’s intricate pattern.
This object was owned by Giorgio Sangiorgi, an Italian textile collector who had also inherited his father antiquarian activity at Palazzo Borghese in Rome. In 1946, it was acquired together with large part of his collection by his friend and dealer Adolfo Loewi, who sold it to the Metropolitan.
This textile’s antiquity is unquestioned, but it followed the same trade path as others suspected to be of modern manufacture— a demonstration of the complexity of the issues around trade and forgery. While many textiles were cut into pieces for higher profits, this one was still sewn in the form of a cap with a paper lining (see 46.156.11b) when the museum acquired it in the 1940s. Changing its form obliterated part of its history but made the pattern more legible.

Textile with a Pattern of Stars and Birds, Originally from a Cap, Silk; samite

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