Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Textile Band with Nereids and Animals
Textile Arts
Work Type
6th century
Creation Place: Africa, Egypt
Byzantine period
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Wool, tapestry woven
Woven, tapestry weave
12.38 x 52.07 cm (4 7/8 x 20 1/2 in.)
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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A monochrome tapestry woven band decorated with three medallions containing animal and plant forms. Two human figures appear between each circle. These figures appear to be nereids riding on the scaled backs of sea monsters. Behind the head of the left nereid in each pair is a basket of fruit or flowers. The design of the nereids is executed more clearly and with greater legibility towards the right side of the band.

The leftmost medallion contains a tree and four birds; the orientation of this medallion differs from that of the other two. The center medallion represents a feline standing at the base of a tree. The rightmost medallion contains two animals facing opposite directions and has the form of a stylized wreath. The three medallions represent vines, with tendrils extending outward at four places on each circle. This is particularly evident in the rightmost medallion, where the scrolling light-colored vine that creates the circle is most clearly articulated.

Reddish warps.

This textile fragment might possibly represent the clavus of a tunic.

There is an area of plain weave below the tapestry band. An area of weft faced tabby weave with dark blue wefts is above the tapestry band.

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at