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Textile fragment

Textile fragment

  • Place of origin:

    Egypt (made)
    Byzantium (Possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. AD500-700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Woven silk

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Robert Taylor in 1900

  • Museum number:

    2185-1900

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A fragment of samite medallion in purple and cream. Egypt or Byzantine ca, AD500-700. A thick border (26mm wide; floral icons, guilloche) encircles a mounted huntsman with a bow, who is attacking a tiger (which appears to have an arrow in its side) at the horses feet. The warrior wears a cloak and the horse has a decorative harness. Above the main roundel is another showing the tiger. A floral icon lies between these. The piece is freyed and worn. Battles between men and animals symbolised the struggle between good and evil in human nature. Similar to 2185A-1900, 2185B-1900, 2186-1900, 817-1903 and 292-1889.

Samite (twill woven silk) was thought to originate from Persia under Sassanian rule (AD224-651). It was commonly decorated with pairs of animals and birds and set in pearled lotus roundels. It is often found in Western burials, within church possessions and along the Silk Road. Byzantine weaving workshops took on the samite technique to make it an essential weave of the period. It was a luxury textile of the Middle Ages brought to Europe when the Crusades opened up direct contact with the East. It was forbidden to the middle classes of France under the sumptuary rules c. 1470.

Physical description

A fragment of samite medallion in purple and cream. Egypt or Byzantine, ca. AD500-700. A thick border (26mm wide; floral icons, guilloche) encircles a mounted huntsman with a bow, who is attacking a tiger (which appears to have an arrow in its side) at the horses feet. The warrior wears a cloak and the horse has a decorative harness. Above the main roundel is another showing the tiger. A floral icon lies between these. The piece is freyed and worn. Battles between men and animals symbolised the struggle between good and evil in human nature. Similar to 2185A-1900, 2185B-1900, 2186-1900, 817-1903 and 292-1889.

Place of Origin

Egypt (made)
Byzantium (Possibly, made)

Date

ca. AD500-700 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Woven silk

Dimensions

Height: 298 mm, Width: 104 mm

Descriptive line

Woven samite medallion. Egypt or Byzantine, ca. AD500-700. Huntsmen on horseback.

Labels and date

SILKS, 7th-9th century. 1/2 weft-faced compund twill. Warp / silk, proportion 1 main to 1 binding. Weft silk of 2 colours, 2 picks of each in turn. The pieces with amazons including 4 given by Mr. Robert Taylor are from unrecorded sites in Egypt; other examples of this pattern are known which include a Christian cross or an invocation of Allah. []

Materials

Silk

Techniques

Weaving

Categories

Textiles; Africa; Archaeology; Death

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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