Fragment (Hanging)

Hanging cloth depicting figure in green cloak under rainbow
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Hanging cloth depicting figure in green cloak under rainbow

Date:

Roman period (30 B.C.– 641 A.D.), 5th/6th century

Artist:

Byzantine
Egypt

About this artwork

Because many textiles made by early Egyptians were preserved in arid tombs, a substantial number of these fabrics have survived in remarkably good condition. This striking portion of a wall hanging depicts a figure standing beneath a colonnaded, arched opening. With raised arms, which perhaps once held candelabrum, he wears a traditional tunic with clavic bands (the narrow strips extending down from the shoulders, on the front and back, to the waist or hem). This woven piece is distinguished by its large size, imposing composition, and brilliant, unfaded shades of red, green, blue, brown, and yellow. The figure’s commanding frontality, solemn expression, and animated side glance, together with the composition’s bold lines and vivid colors, relate this fragment to hauntingly realistic portrait icons. Also suggestive of icons is the three-dimensional appearance of the warrior’s face and legs and the columns—an effect much easier to achieve in painting than in weaving. Woven of indigenous materials, this hanging is composed of linen warps and wool and linen wefts that create an uncut pile against a plain-weave foundation, a fabric surface less common in Byzantine textiles than the tapestry weave.

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Textiles

Artist

Coptic

Title

Fragment (Hanging)

Origin

Egypt

Date

401 AD–600 AD

Medium

Linen and wool, plain weave with weft uncut pile and embroidered linen pile formed by variations of back and stem stitches

Dimensions

136.5 × 88.3 cm (53 3/4 × 34 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Grace R. Smith Textile Endowment

Reference Number

1982.1578

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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