This is a Square. It is dated 5th–7th century and we acquired it in 1902. Its medium is wool and its technique is plain weave with discontinuous wefts (slit tapestry). It is a part of the Textiles department.
Woven portrait busts were a popular way to decorate clothing and soft furnishings in late Roman (third-fourth century C.E.) and Byzantine (fourth-seventh century C.E.) Egypt. Records show that woven busts sometimes portrayed real people. For example, the Emperor Gratian (d. 383 C.E.) is known to have sent the Consul Ausonius a tunic featuring a woven portrait of Constantius. While this bust of a woman may represent a real person, the fragment contains no identifying attributes. The carefully-shaded jewels on the surrounding frame resemble the cabochon rubies and roughly faceted emeralds used in fine jewelry, suggesting that she was a woman of status. A depiction of the Empress Theodora in the Basilica San Vitale uses similar shading to depict the Empress’s jewels.
This object was
John Pierpont Morgan.
It is credited
Gift of John Pierpont Morgan.
Our curators have highlighted 9 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:
Its dimensions are
H x W: 15.3 x 14.6 cm (6 x 5 3/4 in.)
Cite this object as
Square (Egypt); Previously owned by Stanislas Baron ; wool; H x W: 15.3 x 14.6 cm (6 x 5 3/4 in.); Gift of John Pierpont Morgan; 1902-1-72
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Maira Kalman Selects.