Mar 26, 2009
Jun 13, 2007

Roundels with camels bearing howdahs

Roundels with camels bearing howdahs


Silk: plain weave variation with supplementary weft

Overall: 78.8 x 48.6 cm (31 x 19 1/8 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1986.90



This unusually large fragment is part of a rare group of silks characterized by an unusal weave structure. The group is most important, however, because the Kufic inscriptions (here "mulk," or "Dominion," an abbreviation of "al-mulk lillah," meaning "Dominion belongs to God") demonstrates their Islamic origin. The Byzantine motifs found in some of them (for example, a second fragment in the museum collection), however, lead scholars to believe they may have been woven in Antioch, the scene of much fighting between Muslims and the Crusaders. These fragments become, therefore, fascinating evidence of two traditions occurring in one area.

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