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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Silk with Griffins

first half 13th century
Central Asian, Sicilian, or North African
Silk, silver-gilt metal on parchment over cotton
69 1/4 x 38 1/4 in. (175.9 x 97.2 cm)
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1984
Accession Number:
Not on view
This exceptionally rare medieval textile is stylistically close to silks from the palls of 13th-century tombs excavated from the royal necropolis at Las Huelgas in Burgos. The extensive use of metallic threads creates a reflective quality and gives texture to the animated griffins. At the upper end, a band of repeating palmettes acts as a bridge to a partly lost pseudo-Kufic inscription. The piece is said to have been purchased from a Tibetan monastery, suggesting that it may have been sent eastward as a gift soon after its manufacture.
Henry Ginsberg(sold 1984)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Notable Acquisitions, 1984-1985 (Metropolitan Museum of Art) (1985). p. 12.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "One Hundred Fifteenth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 1984, through June 30, 1985." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 115 (1985). p. 44.

Parker, Elizabeth C. "Recent Major Acquisitions of Medieval Art by American Museums." Gesta 24, no. 4 (1985). p. 173, fig. 19.

Boehm, Barbara Drake. "Textiles in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 53, no. 3 (Winter 1995-1996).

Wixom, William D., ed. Mirror of the Medieval World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. no. 135, pp. 112–14.

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