Exhibitions/ Art Object

Fragment of Wall Hanging with Eagle

9th–10th century
Made in Egypt, probably Bahnasa
Tapestry weave in polychrome wool and undyed linen
14 x 7 1/16 in. (35.5 x 18 cm)
Credit Line:
Benaki Museum, Athens (15629)
Not on view
Animals generally appear on secular works in the Islamic era. These textile fragments picture animals displayed in profile against sharply contrasting backgrounds. The stylized, geometricized forms of the animals and plants are framed by bands of linear and geometric ornament. Animals like these were often combined with inscriptions.
A brightly colored eagle appears above two bands of double pearls that frame images of stemmed cups on this wall hanging. Complete works like this were widely used for comfort and insulation in the Islamic world where furniture was rare. The elite used them to show off their wealth and status.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.