Tapestry, dyed wool and undyed linen
Egypt; 9th-10th century
H: 56; W: 43 cm
Egypt has been known for its textile production since ancient times. This fairly coarse tapestry belongs to a group that was made under the Turkish Tulunid dynasty. In contrast to tiraz textiles, where inscriptions played the main role, these pieces are figurative. They reflect both the local Coptic tradition and finer silk fabrics of the type that was made for the Byzantine and Sasanian courts.
A stylized tree of life is surrounded by confronted sphinxes and addorsed lions framed by a medallion. The pattern is a bit clumsy, but it also displays a power and colorfulness that might bring to mind Turkish kilims.
Inv. no. 1/1989
Kjeld von Folsach: Islamic art. The David Collection, Copenhagen 1990, cat.no. 388;
Kjeld von Folsach: Fabelvæsner fra Islams Verden, Davids Samling, København 1991, cat.no. 1;
Kjeld von Folsach and Anne-Marie Keblow Bernsted: Woven Treasures: Textiles from the World of Islam, The David Collection, Copenhagen 1993, cat.no. 2;
Kjeld von Folsach: “Textiles and society” in Carpet and textile art, 1994, 1. Hali annual, p. 21, fig. 11;
Kjeld von Folsach, Torben Lundbæk and Peder Mortensen (eds.): Sultan, Shah and Great Mughal: the history and culture of the Islamic world, The National Museum, Copenhagen 1996, cat.no. 117;
Kjeld von Folsach: Art from the World of Islam in The David Collection, Copenhagen 2001, cat.no. 623;
Kjeld von Folsach: Flora islamica: plantemotiver i islamisk kunst, Davids Samling, København 2013, cat.no. 42;
Kjeld von Folsach, Joachim Meyer: The Human Figure in Islamic Art – Holy Men, Princes, and Commoners, The David Collection, Copenhagen 2017, fig. 20, p. 65;
Glaire D. Anderson: “Aristocratic residences and the Majlis in Umayyad Córdoba” in Michael Frishkopf and Federico Spinettis (eds.): Music, sound, and architecture in Islam, Austin 2018, pp. 240-241, fig. 9.8;