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Curtain

1600s–1700s
Overall: 281 x 157.7 cm (110 5/8 x 62 1/16 in.)
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Location: not on view

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Did You Know?

When first acquired over a century ago, this curtain had fringe at its lower end.

Description

One of a pair, this curtain displays colorful silk bands with woven geometric motifs, and cream bands with gold-embroidered plants, birds, six-pointed stars, and the khamsah (خمسة), an open five-fingered hand. Birds and the tree of life were popular good luck or fertility symbols linked to marriage. This curtain’s cosmopolitan motifs would have resonated with Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike, reflecting its creation on multiethnic and multireligious Djerba, an island off the Tunisian coast. There, both goldsmithing and gold thread embroidery were done by Jewish artisans (male and female, respectively). The fine materials suggest this curtain once hung in a wealthy home or for special occasions; interior wall hangings were typically made from rough wool.
Curtain

Curtain

1600s–1700s

Africa, North Africa, Tunisia, Djerba, Tunisian weaver(s) and embroiderer(s)

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