Nereid (Sea-Nymph) from a Hanging

late 300s–400s CE
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.)
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Did You Know?

Look closely at the eyeliner beneath the eye: it is formed by mixing two colors of thread, pink and blue.


The brilliant colors and complex design of this panel, likely one of several forming a tapestry, testify to its makers’ skill. Vines and birds frame a nereid, a mermaidlike mythological creature, against a dark blue ground. The weaver has aligned different-colored threads to create shading and special details. Blue threads representing water are integrated into the weaving of the glass bowl. Alternating pink and blue threads combine to create a smoky effect around the nereid’s eyes. Small spots across the surface are stable organic spores and fortunately do not affect the condition of this millennia-old textile.
Nereid (Sea-Nymph) from a Hanging

Nereid (Sea-Nymph) from a Hanging

late 300s–400s CE

Byzantine Empire (Egypt)

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