See more objects with the tag metallic, men's clothing, headcovering, interlaced, diamonds, burial, lattice.

See more objects with the color darkslategrey darkslateblue slategrey darkolivegreen dimgrey or see all the colors for this object.

Object Timeline

1949

  • We acquired this object.

2002

2012

2014

2019

  • You found it!

Cap (Egypt), late 13th–early 14th century

This is a Cap. It is dated late 13th–early 14th century and we acquired it in 1949. Its medium is untwisted silk, gilded parchment; z-spun linen lining and its technique is plain weave cloth, quilted, embroidered and sewn. It is a part of the Textiles department.

This cap was used in Mamluk Egypt, a period during which textiles were perhaps the most precious items in Islamic society. Its finely-woven blue silk fabric is interlaced with ‘strap gold’: strips of membrane coated with real gold foil, making it among the most expensive and desired fabric types in Egypt at this time. The fabric’s fine, firm weave structure and use of untwisted silks indicate a Chinese origin for the fabric, which likely arrived in Egypt by means of the famed Silk Road. The geometric and interlace designs of the embroidery, however, reflect medieval Islamic tastes rather than Chinese designs, suggesting that the hat itself was fabricated in Egypt. Erosion of the cap’s back and evidence of bodily fluid degradation suggest that the cap was used in a funerary context. The deceased was likely wealthy to have been buried in a cap of such fine fabric.

This object was purchased from Victor Bacchi. It is credited Museum purchase through gift of Anonymous Donor.

Our curators have highlighted 9 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

Its dimensions are

H x diam.: 11.4 x 15.2 cm (4 1/2 x 6 in.)

Cite this object as

Cap (Egypt), late 13th–early 14th century; untwisted silk, gilded parchment; z-spun linen lining; H x diam.: 11.4 x 15.2 cm (4 1/2 x 6 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Anonymous Donor; 1949-64-7

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Maira Kalman Selects.

This object may be subject to Copyright or other restrictions.

You are welcome to make fair use of this image under U.S. Copyright law and in compliance with our terms of use. Please note that you are responsible for determining whether your use is fair and for responding to any claims that may arise from your use.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

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

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18382633/ |title=Cap (Egypt), late 13th–early 14th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=26 March 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>