Curtain with equestrian hunt - ROM2004_1276_1

ROM2004_1276_1

Curtain with equestrian hunt

Maker: Coptic
Medium:Linen tabby with inwoven wool tapestry motifs
Geography: Egypt
Date: 6th century
Period: Early Byzantine
Dimensions:
355.5 x 232 cm
Object number: 910.125.32
Credit Line: The Walter Massey Collection
Not on view
DescriptionFrom late Roman times, light-weight curtains with woven or applied decoration are depicted in artistic representations (i.e. wall paintings, mosaics) or referred to in written sources. Curtains were important furnishings of religious and secular buildings. Fragments of curtains or hangings are not unusual finds in Egyptian burial grounds dating from the late Roman to Islamic times, but this Coptic curtain in the ROM’s collection is one of the largest and best-preserved. The decoration of the linen curtain is worked in tapestry weave, principally with purplish-black and some faded red, orange, yellow, green, and blue wool and bleached linen thread. The top border depicts animals and birds in compartments framed by a meander of trefoils on all four sides. The eleven rows below depict an elaborate hunting scene with numerous horsemen and stylized animals including bridled horses without riders, lions, mountain goats, leopards, boars, hares, dogs, a stag, a bear and a griffon. In each row, the galloping horseman is depicted either raising his hand in a gesture of triumph or holding an unidentified object. The figures are separated from one another by a conventionalized tree, which suggests that the hunt is taking place in a wooded landscape. There is no attempt to create perspective or indicate distance.
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