Textile Fragment from the Shrine of San Librada, Sigüenza Cathedral
first half 12th century
Attributed to Spain
Silk, metal wrapped thread; lampas
Textile: H. 17 in. (43.2 cm) W. 12 in. (30.5 cm) Mount: H. 20 5/8 in. (52.4 cm) W. 16 5/8 in. (42.2 cm) D. 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm)
Funds from various donors, 1958
Not on view
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have been found in reliquaries of churches in Spain; they may be the "patterns with circles" of Almeria referred to in historical documents. These Islamic textiles were most likely brought to Sigüenza by Alfonso VII, in 1147 on the occasion of the victory over the Almoravids and the capture of Almeria.
Paul O. Berliz, New York (until 1958; sold to MMA)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries: the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1970. no. 130, p. 160, ill. (b/w).