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Wool; plain weave with slit-tapestry weave
Overall: 81 x 20.3 cm (31 7/8 x 8 in.)
Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1982.107.a
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 winterweight 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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