Fragment, Silk; samite


8th century
Attributed to Egypt or Syria
Silk; samite
Textile: H. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm)
W. 11 in. (28 cm)
Mount: H. 12 in. (30.5 cm)
W. 14 3/4 in. (37.5 cm)
D. 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Hayford Peirce, 1987
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 451
This silk fragment depicts a mounted hunter aiming at a leaping panther in an oval roundel with scrolling vegetation. The remains of another roundel on the left side of this fragment shows that this design would have been repeated many times over a much larger piece of silk. The motif of hunters on horseback with bows and arrows originates in Sasanian Iran but made its way into Byzantine heraldry, where it was adapted and classicized. Several examples have been found in Byzantine Egypt, and later examples including Arabic inscriptions attest to the popularity of the type over several centuries.
[ Giorgio Sangiorgi, Rome, by 1906–34; sold to Peirce]; Mrs. Hayford Peirce, San Diego, CA (1934–87; gifted to MMA)
"Cimlii dell'industria Tessile Orientale." L' Arte vol. 9 (1906). p. 196, ill. fig. 3 (b/w).

Day, Florence. "Book Review of Two Thousand Years of Textiles." Ars Orientales vol. 1 (1954). p. 240, ill. pl. I, fig. 1, The photograph shows that the inscription probably read: "God is my stay"; re-reproduced from Sangiorgi article in L'Arte, vol. 9 (1906), p. 196.