Textile: H. 17 in. (43.2 cm) W. 13 in. (33 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 silk fragment belongs to a group of silk brocaded textiles of the Almoravid dynasty found in the reliquary of Saint Librada in the Cathedral of Siquenza in Almeria, Spain. These were possibly taken as booty when the armies of Alfonso VII of Castile (r. 1126–57) sacked Almeria in 1147 A.D. The design is comprised of a single-headed eagle and composite quadrupeds and harpies in the outer band and a leonine quadruped within a roundel on each shoulder. There is a band of pseudo-epigraphy; kufic script that possibly reads "blessing" (barakat) beneath its talons. Outside the roundel, mostly disintegrated, there is an inscription that says: "Blessing from God and victory, support and long-life."
Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
Inscription: The Arabic inscription reads "Blessing" repeated in reverse.
Paul O. Berliz, New York (until 1958; sold to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Nature of Islamic Ornament, Part IV: Figural Representation," September 16, 1999–January 30, 2000, no catalogue.
Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn. "Muslim: An Early Fatimid Ceramist." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, vol. 26 (May 1968). p. 362, ill. fig. 10 (b/w).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries: the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1970. no. 131, p. 160, ill. (b/w).