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Wool; plain weave with slit-tapestry weave
Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1982.107
Classical figures and winged animals remained popular during the early Islamic period. The nude male may portray Dionysus, Greek god of wine; he holds his thyrsus, a staff ornamented with ivy leaves and pine cones, as he pours liquid from a small jug for the panther. These colorful designs would have decorated the front or back of a tunic and one sleeve. Elaborate embellishments were cherished. Thus, once a tunic began to fray, its decoration was sewn onto a new one, as seen on this winter-weight woolen tunic cloth. Its finely detailed motifs, some with eccentric drawing, are woven in tapestry weave, the equivalent of painting with weft thread; discontinuous horizontal wefts are interlaced only where needed in the design.
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