Compound twill weave, silk
Overall: 23.5 x 24.2 cm (9 1/4 x 9 1/2 in.); Mounted: 31.1 x 31.8 cm (12 1/4 x 12 1/2 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1947.192
This ornament from a tunic records the survival into the Islamic period of two very ancient themes. One is the motif of deer flanking a Tree of Life, which originated in the ancient Near East and later migrated to the Mediterranean. The other is the suckling fawn, which occurs in Egyptian art as early as the pharaonic period. Nevertheless, the Islamic date of the silk is indicated by the presence of Arabic inscriptions on related silks. The naturalistic, graceful style of the deer and the leaves is characteristic of the art of the first Islamic dynasty, the Umayyad (661–750).
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