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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Cuff Band: Stylized Animals
Textile Arts
Work Type
4th-5th century CE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Africa, Egypt (Ancient)
Byzantine period, Early
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Wool with linen threads on wool warps. Tapestry woven
12.7 x 33.22 cm (5 x 13 1/16 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Dr. Denman W. Ross
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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This is a tapestry woven fragment, with the design of two parallel bands executed in dark blue wool. The visible warps are yellow in color. The bands each contain eleven circles of a regularized, twisting vine inhabited by a sequence of alternating animals. Perhaps they are lions or hares. Every other animal wears a ribbon around its neck. Areas of solid blue end and begin each band, pointing to its function as a cuff band.

The borders of the two bands are created out of thick zigzagging vines. The outer empty spaces along these vines sprout acanthus or grape leaves. The inner sides of the vine borders are filled by diamond shapes. The designs running along these two thick vines are created in a slightly darker and yellower thread than the other areas of undyed yarn. Details of the animals and the outer vine borders are executed in flying shuttle using undyed thread.
This textile is a match for 1924.117, also a gift of Denman Waldo Ross. These two fragments have border designs very similar to that of 1924.110, though their relation to that piece is not certain.

This textile's design and approximate dimensions match those of 96.152a and 96.152b in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Those pieces were also a gift from the collection of Denman Waldo Ross, and were likely to come from the same textile.
Publication History

Mary McWilliams and Jochen Sokoly, Social Fabrics: Inscribed Textiles from Medieval Egyptian Tombs, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, February 22, 2022), pp. 106-7, cat. 22

Exhibition History

32Q: 3740 Egyptian, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/17/2015 - 06/01/2016

Social Fabrics: Inscribed Textiles from Medieval Egyptian Tombs, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/22/2022 - 05/08/2022

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