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Tapestry Fragment (Spain)

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 Week series in a post titled Beautiful Ladies.

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

  • Roundel (Egypt)
  • warp: undyed s-spun wool; wefts: s-spun red wool; s-spun white linen; s-spun....
  • Gift of John Pierpont Morgan.
  • 1902-1-71
  • Medallion (Egypt)
  • warp: paired s-spun linen; wefts: s-spun linen, s-spun wools; linen backing.
  • Gift of John Pierpont Morgan.
  • 1902-1-80
  • Sidewall (USA)
  • block-printed paper, embossed, hand-rubbed oil finish.
  • Gift of Birge Co., Inc..
  • 1944-79-19

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

  • Textile (Spain)
  • silk, metallic (gilded parchment wound around linen core).
  • Gift of John Pierpont Morgan.
  • 1902-1-251
  • Cap (Egypt)
  • untwisted silk, gilded parchment; z-spun linen lining.
  • Museum purchase through gift of Anonymous Donor.
  • 1949-64-7

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); 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 image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Tapestry Fragment (Spain) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=5 February 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>