Dating vs hanging out oaks
This element is filled with the same putti, flora, and fauna found in the rectangle above.In the middle of the horizontal arm of the gammadion stands a putto with arms nearly akimbo, facing the viewer and, perhaps, dancing.For another example of textile scholarship from this Roman perspective, see E. Clothing the House: Furnishing Textiles of the 1st Millennium AD from Egypt and Neighbouring Countries; Proceedings of the 5th Conference of the Research Group “Textiles from the Nile Valley,” Antwerp, 6–7 October 2007, ed. Shalem, “‘The Nation Has Put On Garments of Blood’: An Early Islamic Red Silken Tapestry in Split,” in the present volume.
A large fragmentary textile from Dumbarton Oaks that presents two horsemen in a medallion as its central focus speaks to both the riches of its elite owner in late antique Egypt and the desires of modern collectors (BZ.1943.8, fig. The addorsed mounted horsemen within the medallion wear fitted caps, boots, and knee-length garments festooned with pearls (fig. Surrounding this primary design is a rectangular border occupied by eight putti, each in its own oval frame, separated by groups of motifs referring to the bounty of the earth: food, fish, plants, and birds (figs. Lions appear in the spandrels between the central medallion and its rectangular border; they face outward toward the border as if protecting the horsemen, a posture appropriate for a textile that itself may have been hung to shield or protect people from view (fig. The fragment was originally the lower right corner of a hanging, possibly a curtain, as indicated by the (L-shape) with circular finials at each end, which frames the lower right corner of the fragment.Small red T-shapes decorate the border of the medallion and gammadion: some of these look like arrows, some like crosses, and some like capital Ts (fig. Iconographic and comparative evidence, discussed below, indicate that this textile should be dated to the seventh to eighth century, a politically tumultuous period in Egypt when the local population was variously under Byzantine (twice), Persian, and Arab rule.Scholars have often ignored the seventh to ninth centuries when examining textiles and works in other media, perhaps in part because of the difficulties in understanding the cultural complexity in Egypt during this time.That is, textiles have been imagined anachronistically in Roman houses with iconography relating to Roman magic and religion. Duncan-Flowers, This, however, becomes a problem when textiles are redated later.For example, James Trilling’s 1982 study, (Washington, DC, 1982). The range of possible uses and the reception of textiles in later late antique (seventh- and eighth-century) Egypt was not limited to Roman sources.