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Creation Date

3rd–6th centuries




Roman, Byzantine, Egyptian, Coptic


Textile, dyed wool on linen, tapestry weave


5 1/2 × 10 3/8 in. (14 × 26 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase by the Department of Art History, 2019

Accession Number



Purchased from Tom Lyons, November 17, 2019.


The textile is worn thin. It has several holes through it and fraying, irregular edges. The fabric appears to have become discolored over time, growing darker based on the difference in coloration between the front and back of the fragment. The upper left side of the pattern appears to be fading and the upper right may have some water damage, with a darker edge about two inches or six centimeters from the top right corner.

Jack Rayden (’24), October 2023


The brown section fabric is tattered as though the rest of the item has disintegrated around it. The irregular edges lend themselves vaguely to a rectangle with a stripe of pattern just left of center. The vertical strip is approximately 7 centimeters or 2 3/4 inches wide, with a central motif that repeats every 11 centimeters or 3 1/2 inches and is 3.5 centimeters or 1 3/8 inches. The symmetrical pattern, working from the outside in, bears a repeating flower pattern of dark wool leaves around a lighter linen center. These very basic flowers stem out of a thin strip of brown wool that is separated from a thicker wool band by a thin linen strip. Inside of the thick band is the central motif. The repeating image showcases a striped vase in its lower half, with a long narrow stem that grows into a central drum that sprouts two handles out of the top. Surrounding each vase are swirling vines of flowers, which first curl from the inside out and display a central three-leaf flower, and out of the top of that swirling vine is another which grows from outside in to display another central three-leaf flower.

From the center of the vase a thin flower stem grows up through a border shaped like an inverted shield. Each flower in the repeating motif is unique. The lowest flower whose vase is not pictured on this section of fabric has two wide lower leaves, that may also be peas. These long pod shaped items spring three circles on either side. Above them two longer leaves curl in under themselves and sprout a flower like a heart shaped arrow. The second flower has two long lower leaves as well with a thin, wispy and hairy vegetation. Above that two curling leaves and a more bulbous flower bud. The top flower bears a lower set of three-leaf flowers below bowed out leaves and an upper central flower in bloom, which appears to be similar to a daffodil.

Jack Rayden (’24)