late 300s - 400s
Slit-and dovetailed-tapestry weave probably woven in a linen plain-weave ground; dyed wool, undyed linen
Overall: 66.7 x 65.4 cm (26 1/4 x 25 3/4 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
Look closely at the eyeliner beneath the eye: it is formed by mixing two colors of thread, pink and blue.
This mythological nereid, or sea nymph, a popular subject matter in late antiquity, is offering up the contents of a colored glass bowl. She is adorned with costly jewelry which includes large emeralds, sapphires, and pearls, a loosely draped shawl, and a brilliant halo. The nereid is surrounded by a border decorated with grape vines and birds. The quality of the craftsmanship is not diminished by the permanent brown blemishes, identified as dormant mold spores, which were present when it was acquired in 1953.
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