Linen, undyed; wool: dyed; tapestry weave with supplementary weft wrapping
Overall: 144.2 x 57.1 cm (56 3/4 x 22 1/2 in.); Mounted: 153.7 x 66 x 3.2 cm (60 1/2 x 26 x 1 1/4 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund and Gift of the Textile Art Alliance in memory of Robert P. Bergman 2000.5
The textile industry drove the Egyptian economy, dominated by the flax plant from which linen is derived.
This large panel conveys merrymaking, wealth, and power through its symbolic imagery and deep purple color. It was originally part of a luxurious wide curtain with similar panels alternating with plain linen panels. Although woven in Christian Egypt, the panel is dominated by pagan subjects. A nude male stands beside a dancing female in transparent clothing in each of the three squares, alternating with centaurs (half-man, half-horse creatures) in roundels. In the central square, Dionysus, the god of wine, holds a grapevine and a weary Hercules leans on his club below. The lively animal imagery conveys wealth because few could afford animals such as lions, bulls, and hares.
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