Feb 7, 2007



before 1975

Silk: lampas weave

Overall: 38.5 x 67 cm (15 3/16 x 26 3/8 in.)

Gift of The Textile Arts Club and Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1975.38



This silk was originally reported to be one of several fragments from garments, shroud, and tomb covers unearthed during the early 1900s at Bibi Shahr Banu outside the ancient city of Rayy, a few miles from Tehran. The fragment preserves a beginning (or finishing) edge at the bottom and a small portion of selvage along the left edge.

The exceptionally beautiful design of this silk is filled with ornament. Even the spaces between the roundels containing birds and palmette trees and the octagons with inscriptions enclosing floral devices are ornamented with an intricate geometric pattern. Islamic art is, above all, decorative in accordance with Muhammed's dislike of representing living forms. In Iran, floral and animal motifs never ceased to be represented even after the Islamic invasion, but they were depicted in a highly ornamental fashion as seen here.

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