Lampas with griffins in roundels, from the Reliquary of Saint Librada in Siguenza Cathedral

Lampas with griffins in roundels, from the Reliquary of Saint Librada in Siguenza Cathedral

1100-50

Lampas and plain-weave variant: silk and gold thread

Overall: 52.7 x 63.5 cm (20 3/4 x 25 in.); Mounted: 61 x 71.1 cm (24 x 28 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1952.152

Description

Mirrored griffins with gold heads dominate these roundels, as they turn their heads unnaturally to stare at each other across their wing tips. The pairs of dragons in the framing border, however, have lost their artistic impact since the green silk thread has disintegrated into brown specks.

Luxury silks woven in Islamic Spain were worn by Christian kings throughout Europe. Their patterns also influenced designs in Jewish synagogues and were the standard aesthetic of the elaborately decorated walls in the Muslim Alhambra palace in Granada. This silk is from the reliquary of Saint Librada in Siguenza Cathedral, northeast of Madrid.

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