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Tapestry Fragment (Spain)

This is a Tapestry fragment. 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.

  • Roundel (Egypt)
  • warp: undyed s-spun wool; wefts: s-spun red wool; s-spun white linen; s-spun....
  • 1902-1-71

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Cite this object as

Tapestry Fragment (Spain); Previously owned by Francisco Miquel y Badía (Spanish, 1840–1899); silk, metallic (gilded parchment wound around silk core); 1902-1-82

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

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Tapestry Fragment (Spain) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=25 March 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>