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Clavus Band (Egypt), 6th–7th century

This is a Clavus band. It is dated 6th–7th century and we acquired it in 1902. Its medium is warp; s-spin two ply z-twist linen. wefts; s-spun linen, s-spun wools and its technique is slit tapestry with supplementary weft wrapping. It is a part of the Textiles department.

This band of tapestry weave features hunter iconography, a popular textile design in Egypt during the late Roman (third-fourth century C.E.) and Byzantine (fourth-sixth century C.E.) periods. Hunter motifs were popular for funerary use because, in the triumph over his prey, the hunter suggested that its wearer would similarly triumph over death. Hunter imagery could have talismanic value, serving to protect against evil and ensure life after death. An inscription on this textile reinforces this idea - the writing, some of which is illegible, includes the phrase “Long Live.” Another inscribed hunter tapestry, currently in the Victoria and Albert Museum, identifies its rider by name, “Alexander,” which has led scholars to surmise that presently illegible inscriptions on hunter textiles might have originally served to identify their riders. The caption on this textile, however, shows that inscriptions on hunter textiles could also reinforce the imagery’s apotropaic meaning.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled Protection For This Life And The Next.

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

Cite this object as

Clavus Band (Egypt), 6th–7th century; warp; s-spin two ply z-twist linen. wefts; s-spun linen, s-spun wools; Gift of John Pierpont Morgan; 1902-1-22

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Clavus Band (Egypt), 6th–7th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=24 April 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>