Skip Navigation

Tiraz Fragment of Caliph Marwan II

Arts of the Islamic World

This extraordinary silk tiraz fragment belongs to a group of fragments that make up the earliest datable Islamic textile. When placed together, the fragments’ inscription, which can be seen in the Brooklyn fragment along the upper register, reads: “The servant of God, Marwan, Commander of the Faithful. Of what was ordered [to be made by] al-R. [or al-Z] in the tiraz of Ifriqiya.” Although there were two rulers named Marwan during the reign of the Umayyads (661–750), the earliest Islamic dynasty, the textile is ascribed to Marwan II (r.744–50), since Marwan I ruled for only about a year and had no known associations with tiraz textiles.

The textile was woven in Ifriqiya, an ancient name for modern-day Tunisia. In 1997, a collaborative study of this group of textile fragments, now scattered around the world, was supported by the government of Tunisia and the Brooklyn Museum.
MEDIUM Silk, compound twill weave
  • Place Made: Africa
  • DATES late 7th-8th century
    DYNASTY Umayyad Dynasty
    PERIOD Umayyad Period
    DIMENSIONS 3 1/2 x 4 in. (8.9 x 10.2 cm) Frame: 1 9/16 x 12 5/16 x 16 13/16 in. (4 x 31.2 x 42.7 cm)  (show scale)
    INSCRIPTIONS In Arabic, reconstruction of inscription from multiple fragments of same textile: "The servant of God, Marwan, Commander of the Faithful. Of what was ordered. [to be made by] al-R. [or al-Z.] in the tiraz of Ifriqiya." [From Journey Through Asia catalogue] Brooklyn Museum fragment includes "[faithful], what was ordered [to be made by]...al-R [or al-Z]." [From Byzantium and Islam catalogue] For text in Arabic, please see object file.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 41.1265
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Pratt Institute
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact reproductions@brooklynmuseum.org (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact copyright@brooklynmuseum.org.
    CAPTION Tiraz Fragment of Caliph Marwan II, late 7th-8th century. Silk, compound twill weave, 3 1/2 x 4 in. (8.9 x 10.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Pratt Institute, 41.1265. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 41.1265_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 41.1265_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Red silk twill weave border with pattern in green and yellow on red background. Incomplete Arabic inscription with the name Umayyad Caliph Marwan II embroidered in yellow silk.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.