Fragment of an abaya (mantle) - ROM2014_14244_10


Fragment of an abaya (mantle)

Medium:Silk tapestry with linen warp
Geography: Egypt
Date: c. 1100
Period: Fatimid Dynasty
10 x 11.4 cm
Object number: 978.76.286
Credit Line: Abemayor Collection given in memory of Dr. Veronika Gervers, Associate Curator, Textile Department (1968-1979) by Albert and Federico Friedberg. Certified by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act. Attestée par la Commission canadienne d'examen des exportations de biens culturels en vertu de la Loi sur l'exportation et l'importation de biens culturels.
Not on view

This roundel is executed in silk tapestry but the warp threads indicate that the garment was made of blue linen. The decoration consists of allover lattice work filled with very stylized rabbits and birds, tapestry woven in coloured silk. Rabbits and birds, long popular in art from Egypt, became miniaturized in the 11th century when woven in very fine-quality tapestry weave. They are often shown in interlacing frameworks (oval) or in roundels (rectangle). The latter also displays a generic Arabic text, Victory from God, the very presence of which provides auspicious associations.

The roundel must have belonged to an abaya-type mantle. Originally, it could have been placed at the center back of the garment. The piece is somewhat similar to the roundel of one of the abaya-type mantle fragments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, although this is a simpler version. Compare with the late-11th century Fatimid abaya in the treasury of Apt Cathedral, France (the so-called Veil of St. Anne).

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