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Catalog Number CAS 0389-2587   CAS 0389-2587; Coptic textile fragment
Category Textiles
Object Name Coptic textile fragment
Culture Coptic Egyptian
Global Region North Africa
Country Egypt
Other Geographic Data Antinoöpolis (Shaikh Abada aka El Sheik Abara)
Maker's Name Unknown
Date of Manufacture ca. 400-535 CE
Collection Name Rietz Collection of Textiles
Materials Linen; Wool
Description “Tunic ornament. An ovoid medallion forms the base for the ornament. In the center is a depiction of an eagle with outspread wings, dull purple on a tan ground. It is surrounded by a wide purple border. Within this is a narrower band with a net-pattern filler. The weave is tapestry, wool and linen wefts on paired linen warps, 9 x 22 [warp : weft per square cm]. Weft floats define details of the plumage and the intricate pattern of the border. All yarn is S-twist. Fifth or early sixth century. Related examples: A larger fragment with a similar medallion is in Washington D.C. (sic), Textile Museum 71.128 (Trilling 1982, no. 40). It includes a section of the clavus, decorated with a net pattern that matches the border of the medallion. Remarks: The eagle as a symbol has an important place in several religions. The Roman legions marched under a standard bearing the image of an eagle. For Christians, it is the symbol of Saint John the Evangelist. The textiles in this group [DL Carroll # 17-26 (CAS 0389-2379, -2381, -2383, -2387, -2395, -2408A,B, -2418, -2428, -2431, -2587)] are reportedly from Shaikh Abada, or El Sheik Abara - the Arabic name for the site is transliterated variously. The ancient city was named Antinoöpolis after a beautiful Greek youth who drowned near there. It was founded in his memory by the emperor Hadrian around A.D. 13. A major weaving center in antiquity, some of its products have a classical flavor that may derive from Hadrian’s interest in early Greek art. The archaic style of Greece was revived during his reign. Later, in the Christian period, Antinoöpolis became the site of a famous monastery founded by Saint Samuel. While it is impossible to place total reliance on antique dealers’ attributions, the textiles in this group have similarities that make a common source believable. It is assumed that Rietz purchased them as a group, perhaps from a dealer in the vicinity.” [From Looms and Textiles of the Copts by Diane Lee Carroll (San Francisco, CA: Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences, No. 11, 1988); Catalog # 26, pp. 102, 114-115.]
Dimensions (cm) Width = 13.6, Length = 14.8
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