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Tapestry Fragment (Spain), 13th century

This is a tapestry fragment. It is dated 13th century and we acquired it in 1902. Its medium is silk, metallic (gilded parchment wound around silk core) and its technique is plain weave with discontinuous wefts (slit tapestry), with eccentric wefts. It is a part of the Textiles department.

The figure pairs featured in this fragment are commonly called “cup bearers.” Seated in the same pose, but with clothing and drinking vessels of different colors, they raise their cups with one hand and point to each other with the other. Similar designs appear on Islamic textiles and carved ivories of this period. A 13th century cope of San Valero (1938-78-1) is one example. This type of decoration may have originated in the geometric decoration often found in Islamic architecture. Some of the complex mosaics at Alhambra, the palace of the Sultan of Granada, utilize the same patterns as this textile.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled Beautiful Ladies.

This object was donated by John Pierpont Morgan. It is credited Gift of John Pierpont Morgan.

Our curators have highlighted 6 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

Its dimensions are

H x W: 34.9 x 17.8 cm (13 3/4 x 7 in.)

Cite this object as

Tapestry Fragment (Spain), 13th century; silk, metallic (gilded parchment wound around silk core); H x W: 34.9 x 17.8 cm (13 3/4 x 7 in.); Gift of John Pierpont Morgan; 1902-1-82

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Hewitt Sisters Collect.

This object has no known Copyright restrictions.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Tapestry Fragment (Spain), 13th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=26 May 2018 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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