Wool and linen: tapestry weave
Overall: 80 x 83.2 cm (31 1/2 x 32 3/4 in.); Mounted: 93.3 x 95.9 cm (36 3/4 x 37 3/4 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1959.48
This rare complete Egyptian pillow cover is a masterpiece of contrasting colors. Crimson and blue-green wool alternate in the ground and bird-inhabited roundels, supported by mustard-colored wool and undyed linen woven in tapestry weave. When folded down the center, based on examples from Egyptian burials, four birds form a unit on each side and are appropriately ascending in flight.
Above, an Arabic text written in angular Kufic script reads, "In the name of God. Blessing from God to its owner. Of what was made in the tiraz." The word tiraz means factory or an Arabic-inscribed textile. This was probably made in al-Bahnasa, the city renowned for colorful wool textiles with figures, as they claimed, from a "gnat to the elephant."
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