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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Sleeve Band: Personification
Textile Arts
Work Type
6th-9th century
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Syria
Byzantine period, Early
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Wool and linen, tapestry weave
Woven, tapestry weave
32.5 x 17.4 cm (12 13/16 x 6 7/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: ΓΕΩΡΓΕ


Recorded Ownership History
Collection Besselièvre, Paris (by 1911), sold; Charles Bain Hoyt (by 1931), gift; to the Fogg Museum.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Charles Bain Hoyt
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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In the central roundel is a bust of a female personfication dressed in a green robe dotted with white. She holds a budding bough in each hand. Above her is an inscription in Greek letters reading ΓΕΩΡΓΕ (Georgi). The four smaller roundels contain nereids riding sea creatures. Horizontal bands containing red flowers alternate with blue bands containing fish.
The shape of this fragment suggests that it once was the sleeve band of a tunic. Textiles that once have also belonged to the same tunic can be found in the Abegg-Stiftung Collection in Riggisberg (Inv. Nr. 1085) and the Musee du Perigord (Inv. Nr. 3 178-1). The piece in the Abegg is a sleeve band with the same dimensions as our band and an identical similar composition.1 The personification on that band is labeled ΣΟΦIΑ (Wisdom). The Musee du Perigord contains part of a shoulder patch and clavi bands with similar design elements.2

1. Schrenk, Sabine. Textilien des Mittelmeerraumes aus spatantiker bis fruhislamischer Zeit. Riggisberg: Abegg-Stiftung, 2004.

2. L'Egypte en Périgord: Dans les pas de Jean Clédat. Catalogue raisonné de l'exposition, Musée du Périgord, 16 mai - 15 septembre 1991. Paris: Editions Peeters, 1991.

Publication History

  • Annemarie Stauffer, Spätantike und koptische Wirkereien: Untersuchungen zur ikonographischen Tradition in spätantiken und frühmittelalterlichen Textilwerkstätten, exh. cat., Verlag Peter Lang (Bern, Switzerland, 1992), 143-35, 244
  • Ioli Kalavrezou, Byzantine Women and Their World, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2003), p. 272/fig. 162

Exhibition History

  • Byzantine Women and Their World, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/25/2002 - 04/28/2003
  • 32Q: 3740 Egyptian, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/28/2017 - 06/20/2018

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at