Resist-dyed warp (ikat); plain weave with inscription: cotton and gold leaf
Overall: 60 x 63.4 cm (23 5/8 x 24 15/16 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1950.353
The "flame" pattern was dyed on the vertical warp threads before weaving began by tightly binding them to resist dye penetration, and repeated for each color. The process and fabric are called ikat, a Malaysian word which may have originated in South Arabia. Yemeni ikats with historical Arabic inscriptions from the 10th century are among the oldest known. This text, written in kufic script with gold paint outlined in black, identifies a ruler of the Yemen: ". . . [a]l-Da’i ila al-Haqq, Commander of the Believers, Yusuf b. Yahya b. al-Nasir li-Din Allah Ahmad, son of the apostle of God, may God bless the all." The Arabic phrase "to God" is inverted at the bottom.
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