Iconographic analysis and scientific testing have revealed new information about the meaning and use of two textiles in the Museum's collection. The first—woven in a loop pile meant to suggest a mosaic—has recently been recognized as a wall hanging for Christian liturgical use. The second—five recently acquired elements from a depiction of the Crossing of the Red Sea as described in the book of Exodus—can be understood as being from a wall hanging for Christian or possibly Jewish use.
"The Astonished People" (detail from Exodus Painting, five elements from a painted hanging depicting the Crossing of the Red Sea), A.D. mid-2nd–mid-4th century. Indigo dyed open-weave linen, tempera, Roman, Egypt(?), preserved as a burial wrapping. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Rogers and Harris Brisbane Dick Funds; Caroline Howard Hyman Gift; Hagop Kevorkian Fund Gift, in memory of Hagop Kevorkian; Mr. and Mrs. Paul Ruddock, Tianaderrah Foundation, John C. Weber, Diane Carol Brandt, several members of The Chairman's Council, and Elizabeth A.R. and Ralph S. Brown Jr. Gifts; Austin B. Chinn Gift, in honor of Diane Carol Brandt, and Christopher C. Grisanti and Suzanne P. Fawbush Gifts, 2014 (2014.629a–e)