Data publication platform

Collection of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

Fragments, ca. 1246

type: Fragments

See all objects.

Fragments of tapestry roundels and borders from a plain cloth garment, some of which is still visible at the edges of these decorations. The fragments show portions of birds, mythological animals, arabesqued and pearled borders, human figures in turbans and flowing garments, horses, and serpents; in blue, green, several shades of tan, terra cotta (once red), brown and cream against tarnished and worn gold background. The remains of an inscription appear on the border of one roundel. a) Section of a horizontal band of medium-sized linked roundels with narrow pearl borders containing (from left to right) a strutting bird with uptilted head and a banner waving backward from its beak; a prancing winged mythological beast; and a man seated cross-legged with his head turned to the right and his right hand raised (left third only of this roundel remaining). Paired and single heart-shaped palmettes fill the interstices of the roundels. Bands above and below the linked roundels contain sections of double-guilloche interlacing, each section terminating at either end in an arabesque; these guilloche sections alternate with paired heart-shapes containing fleur-de-lys. Narrow pearled band within guard strips borders main band at top and bottom. Below the lower pearled border is a fragment of tapestry showing the tops of two fragmentary, large-sale palmettes. A faded fragment of the red cloth ground in which the border was originally set. c) Section of border showing part of one roundel, apparently from the same border as (a), with the same guard borders and interstitial fillings. This roundel section contains a turbaned man seated with crossed legs, his head turned to his left, wearing apparently full trousers and full upper garment figured with crosses. e) Section of roundel showing a turbaned man in right profile on back of galloping horse, the man's scarves flying behind him, with a coiling snake under the horse's hoofs. f) Section of roundel, including a broad framing band with an Arabic inscription and a portion of the cloth ground into which these were set. The roundel shows a turbaned man in left profile with his arms outstretched n front of him, narrow scarves flowing behind. The text (as translated by Florence Day) reads: "There is no god but Allah" (fragmentary repeat, written normally and in reverse).


John Pierpont Morgan