Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1975.41.19.A
Title
Square with Playing Putti
Classification
Textile Arts
Work Type
tapestry
Date
7th-8th century
Places
Creation Place: Africa, Egypt
Period
Byzantine period
Culture
Coptic
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/288753
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Wool, tapestry woven
Technique
Tapestry
Dimensions
30 x 29.5 cm (11 13/16 x 11 5/8 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of The Hagop Kevorkian Foundation in memory of Hagop Kevorkian
Accession Year
1975
Object Number
1975.41.19.A
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
This tapestry-woven wool square is geometrically subdivided into sections filled with a variety of motifs. Four female busts in medallions in the corners represent beneficent personifications (the Seasons?); each woman holds what is probably a debased sprig of foliage in each hand, as personifications of natural concepts and abundance often do. The central medallion with a red background holds playing putti and possibly nereids. Four yellow birds stand outside this medallion within a dark blue square. Around this square, a yellow field is divided into compartments by a dark blue line. Playing putti and green birds with red wings representations fill spandrels. All the motifs are highly abstract and difficult to read but refer to traditional motifs. A purple border with yellow flowers surrounds the square. Areas of the red ground remain around the square.
Interlock technique used extensively to close vertical slits.

Tapestry over 1 warp; warp: S red wool (10 warps per 1 cm)
weft: S wool, various colors (28 per 1 cm)

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 am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu