late 300s - 400s
Slit-and dovetailed-tapestry weave probably woven in a linen plain-weave ground; dyed wool, undyed linen
Overall: 66.7 x 64.5 cm (26 1/4 x 25 3/8 in.); Mounted: 76.8 x 75.6 x 2.9 cm (30 1/4 x 29 3/4 x 1 1/8 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1953.18
This tapestry is renowned for the large sea-nymph, or nereid, woven with bright colors. The mythological nereid, composed of a naked female torso descending into a fish, holds a colored glass bowl. Only costly jewelry with large emeralds, sapphires, and pearls, a loosely draped shawl, and a brilliant halo adorn her. A vine of leaves and grapes inhabited by birds forms the border. The refined quality is not diminished by the permanent brown blemishes, identified as dormant mold spores, which were present when the tapestry was acquired in 1953.
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