Curtain Panel with Scenes of Merrymaking

Curtain Panel with Scenes of Merrymaking

500s

Tapestry weave with supplementary weft wrapping; undyed linen and dyed wool

Overall: 144.2 x 26.7 cm (56 3/4 x 10 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

Description

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. Although woven in Christian Egypt, pagan subjects dominate. A nude male stands beside a dancing female in transparent clothing in each of the three squares, alternating with centaurs (half-man, half-horse) in roundels. In the central square, Dionysus holds a grapevine and a weary Herakles leans on his club below. The lively animal imagery conveys wealth because few could afford such animals: lions, bulls, hares, a bear, boar, donkey, dog, and a stag.

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