Roundel Illustrating Episodes from the Biblical Story of Joseph

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 451

Textiles like this one are thought to have been produced by Copts (Christian Egyptians) whose designs and motifs influenced the visual repertoire of the early Islamic period. This roundel utilizes explicitly Christian imagery—the life of Joseph, son of Jacob. The early life of Joseph appears to have been a popular source of imagery in Egypt, likely because the narrative largely takes place in that region. Roundels like this were often placed near the shoulders of a child’s garment, and the imagery here of Joseph’s childhood may have been considered as not only an appropriate choice for a child’s garment but also a protective one.

Roundel Illustrating Episodes from the Biblical Story of Joseph, Linen, wool; tapestry weave

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