Roundel Illustrating Episodes from the Biblical Story of Joseph
Fragment of Roundel
Attributed to Egypt
Linen, wool; tapestry weave
Textile: Diam. 10 1/4 in. (26.1 cm)
Mount: H. 14 5/8 in. (37.1 cm)
W. 15 3/8 in. (39.1 cm)
D. 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm)
Gift of Charles K. and Irma B. Wilkinson, 1963
Not on view
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.
Charles K. and Irma B. Wilkinson, Sharon, CT (by 1960–63; gifted to MMA)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Age of Spirituality," November 19, 1977–February 12, 1978, no. 412.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Textiles of Late Antiquity," December 14, 1995–April 7, 1996, no.. 29.
Wietzmann, K., ed. "Late Antique and early Christian Art, 3rd–7th century." In Age of Spirituality. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979. no. 412, pp. 460-461, ill. p. 461 (b/w).
Friedman, Florence D. "Egypt and the Copts in the 2nd to 7th Centuries AD." In Beyond the Pharaohs. Providence, R.I.: Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1989. no. 69, pp. 160-161, ill. p. 161 (b/w).
Stauffer, Annmarie. Textiles of Late Antiquity. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995. no. 29, listed p.45, ill. p. 37 (color).