Tent panel of a dragon slayer

Tent panel of a dragon slayer

1550–99

Velvet, cut, voided, brocaded, and pile-warp substitution: silk and gilt-metal strips

Overall: 71.1 x 55.6 cm (28 x 21 7/8 in.); Mounted: 81.3 x 66 cm (32 x 26 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1948.205

Location

Did you know?

Originally the ivory ground was covered with costly gilt-metal strips, which may have been removed for their monetary value.

Description

Iranian luxury textiles of the 16th and 17th centuries are renowned for representing human figures and for creating the most colorful velvets ever woven. Here, a dragon slayer dressed in 16th-century court attire is poised to hurl a boulder at a snarling dragon in a landscape with blossoming fruit trees and perched fowl. Even with faded silk pile this velvet contains many nuanced tones. As many as 12 colors of velvet pile were achieved by weavers who skillfully replaced colored pile warp during weaving.

This velvet medallion decorated the interior of an imperial tent, possibly donated by Shah Tahmasp to an Ottoman Turkish sultan. Captured after the Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1683, the medallion was claimed as war booty by the European commander-in-chief Prince Sanguszko of Poland by whose name this and other panels are known.

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